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URPP Adaptive Brain Circuits in Development and Learning (AdaBD)

From behavior to molecules

We investigate multi-sensory processing and decision-making in behaving animals and humans. Thanks to new technologies, we want to provide new insights into the underlying circuit mechanisms and signal flow changes. Finally, we want to establish causal links between learning deficits or development delay and impaired brain circuit adaptation during behavior. 

Learning new behaviors requires reorganization of neural circuits. In animal models, especially mice, recently developed imaging methods enable measurements of such changes during actual behavior, covering the whole range from synapses to even brain-wide circuitry. Importantly, repeated recordings are possible from the same individuals over weeks, permitting longitudinal studies of learning-related changes. In addition, normal circuit dynamics in wild-type animals can be compared to animal models of intellectual disabilities and learning deficits. Further, we want to identify genetic causes of learning deficits and intellectual disabilities and to investigate the resulting disturbance of specific or broader circuits.


Dendritic adaptations during learning

In this project, we could track dendritic activity during learning in mice and have shown that the signals were relevant for learning.

Research groups: Fritjof Helmchen, Valerio Mante


Dendritic Integration in Neocortical Pyramidal Neurons as Basis for Multisensory Learning

We further develop the tasks from the project "dendritic adaptation for learning" for quantification of multisensory learning in mice and for comparison with measurements in humans (path 3)

Research groups: Fritjof Helmchen, Christian Ruff, Silvia Brem, Valerio Mante


The emergence of cognitive skills and behavior executive functions during early and late developmental stages in the mouse cortex

We are studying the development of the prefrontal cortex in mice and the effect of perturbing environmental factors on its maturation and on multi-sensory learning.

Research groups: Theofanis Karayannis, Christopher Pryce, Benjamin Grewe


The impact of Cajal-Retzius cell death on the development of the cortical circuit

In this project, we investigate how death of a specific cell type after birth is key for development of
somatosensory processing in mice.

Research groups: Theofanis Karayannis, Fritjof Helmchen


Linking brain-wide connectivity, function and dynamics with artificial neural network

We are improving computational models of brain development that may help simplifying comparison between species.

Research groups: Valerio Mante, Fritjof Helmchen