Institut für Anatomie und Vaskuläre Biologie
Tel.: +49 (0) 251 83-50206
My research centers on synapses crucial for neuronal computations in learning and memory circuits, focusing on their molecular organization, functioning, and plasticity as well as the role of Neurexins. Neurexins interact with pre- and postsynaptic proteins to organise, for example, voltage gated calcium channels and neurotransmitter receptors. Neurexin dysfunction is associated with autism, schizophrenia, and intellectual disabilities, yet understanding it’s normal function and consequences of mutations remain incomplete. Thus, we explore the impact of clinically relevant mutations using translational approaches.
To study synaptic proteins in learning and memory circuits in vivo, Drosophila melanogaster is an excellent model organism. Flies learn and remember, and the underlying molecular and cellular processes are remarkably similar - some even identical – across flies, mice, and humans; however, the genetic organisation is much simpler in Drosophila. To establish experimental model systems, I leverage cutting edge concepts in Connectomics and Computational neurobiology, as well as neuronal circuits with remarkable network functions, like updating memories. Using powerful tools for molecular, genetic, physiological, and behavioral experiments, available in Drosophila, I investigate the role of neurexins, their interaction partners, and clinically relevant mutations in synapses of learning and memory circuits in vivo.