Ongoing research

ChR2-YFP in the subthalamic nucleus. Photo by T. Viereckel.

We are interested in understanding how the brain processes incoming information (cues) and transforms this into a relevant behavioural output, a motivated or goal-directed behaviour. The ventral tegmental area (VTA) and the subthalamic nucleus (STN) have emerged as two key regulatory areas for processing emotional and motional information. Our hypothesis is that their involvement in the regulation of a range of different behaviours is enabled by the actions of different subpopulations within these areas. We work with unravelling such subpopulations and identifying their functional roles in neurocircuitry activity and behavioural output.  Dopamine- and glutamate-signalling neurons, as well as dopamine/glutamate co-signaling neurons, are at the core of our work. We use electrochemical, electrophysiological, behavioural, anatomical and molecular methods, in combination with pharmacological and/or optogenetic approaches. Our research goal is to advance the preclinical knowledge around affective disorders such as substance dependence, and motor dysfunction as seen in tremor disorders, including Parkinson´s disease.

Last modified: 2022-12-28