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URPP Adaptive Brain Circuits in Development and Learning (AdaBD)

From molecules to behavior

We want to discover new molecular mechanisms underlying neural circuit development under physiological conditions. Further, we want to investigate how newly identified pathogenic gene mutations that cause neurodevelopmental phenotypes affect neural circuit formation and function and multi-sensory processing in animal models and humans.

Neural circuit formation relies on well-orchestrated molecular processes to generate neurons and connect them to functional networks. Neurons extend processes that establish precise synaptic connections with target cells. Newly formed networks are shaped by neural activity and sensory experience and establish appropriate, adaptive behavior. Comparing different circuits across several species allows us to identify fundamental molecular pathways and to better understand circuit formation. Further, analysis of patient cohorts with specific deficits, such as intellectual disability, will allow us to identify candidate gene mutations and investigate whether and how they affect neural function or circuit formation.



Revealing the cortical distribution of human Cajal-Retzius cells in a joint MRI + mesoSPIM reference space

Research Groups: Theo Karayannis, Andras Jakab

In this project, we are analyzing the organization of a specific cell type during brain development using both the MRI and the mesoSPIM technologies.


Molecular Mechanisms of Cerebellar Circuit Formation - Contribution of Genes Associated with Joubert Syndrome

Research Groups: Ruxandra Bachmann, Esther Stoeckli

In this project, we are studying the contribution for circuit formation of genes associated with developmental delay.


Expanding the Dynamic Range of Light Microscopy-based Analysis of Physiological and Aberrant Neural Circuit Development

Research Groups: Martin Müller, Esther Stoeckli, Anita Rauch

We are improving technologies to study neural circuit architecture across spatial scales from the subsynaptic to the circuit level.


Brain circuit rewiring and its consequences on learning and memory

Research Groups: Csaba Földy, Sebastian Jessberger, Fritjof Helmchen, mesoSPIM Platform

We are studying how the capacity of neuronal wiring can be reactivated and controlled in adult neurons. This may be a prerequisite for an eventual cure of intellectual disabilities.


Using hippocampal organoids to study human brain development

Research Groups: Sebastian Jessberger, Csaba Földy, Fritjof Helmchen

In this project, we are developing hippocampal organoids.