Main Research Topics

Synapse Formation and Synaptic Plasticity

My research team studies molecular mechanisms in neurons that result in structural circuit and network modifications. We ask which particular sets of proteins, signals and mechanisms do neurons use to rewire through the formation and elimination of synaptic contacts. (2) We investigate processes that strengthen and weaken preexisting synapses in neuronal networks. We ask how does the interplay and turnover of synaptic proteins regulate synaptic tagging, synaptic plasticity and synaptic homeostasis.

Traffic flow in the night
Motor Protein Transport and Cytoskeleton

We study motor proteins (kinesins, dyneins and myosins) that transport protein cargo along microtubules and actin filaments, respectively. We focus on proteins of the postsynaptic density (AMPA receptors, GABA-A receptors, N-Cadherins, Neuroligins etc.) and ask which signals sort motor-cargo complexes to axons versus dendrites and deliver synaptic proteins to either excitatory or inhibitory synapses. Key questions are: (1) how is protein transport regulated through neuronal activity? (2) how do transport processes deliver plasticity-related proteins to tagged versus untagged synapses in synaptic plasticity?

Mouse Behavioral Analysis

Our research uses wildtype and disease mouses models to study cognitive performance in vivo. We generate transgenics, knock-in and knock-out mice to modify protein function in a mammalian system. We ask whether and how the loss-of-function of proteins affect exploration, anxiety, motor performance, learning and memory. In this respect we focus on synaptic proteins and trafficking factors to investigate cognition and to fight cognitive decline.



Dr. Andrea Barberis, Genova, Italy

Dr. Carsten Janke, Institut Curie, Orsay, France

Prof. Dr. Trevor G. Smart, London, UK

Prof. Dr. Antoine Triller, Paris, France

Prof. Dr. Hisashi Umemori, Ann Arbor, MI, USA

Dr. Ben Yee, Portland, OR, USA


Prof. Dr. Manfred Kilimann, Göttingen

Prof. Dr. Christine Klein, Lübeck

PD Dr. Joachim Kremerskothen, Münster

Prof. Dr. Thomas Misgeld, Munich

Prof. Dr. Klaus Nave, Göttingen

Prof. Dr. Hermann Schindelin, Würzburg