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Our research group is dealing with the question of the extent to which synaptic connections and synaptic plasticity are used to store information in the brain. We try to understand how functional and structural changes at different network levels influence cognitive processes. In particular, we are investigating how learning and memory formation, and also how different physiological and cognitive conditions affect neural network dynamics in the hippocampus - and how these influence the long-term connectivity of such networks. Our team is also interested in the interaction of neuromodulatory areas in the brainstem, and how these influence the state of excitation and thus cognitive parameters. Taking a longer-term perspective, we would like to expand translational research at the Mannheim site, including by transferring findings from our current research to humans.

A central methodological aspect of our group is optogenetics. With this, we can specifically control the activity of selected neuronal populations and thus investigate their function for the respective questions. Furthermore, we use viral tracing, non-linear microscopy (2-photon, SHG) or fibre photometry in vivo and in vitro, bioluminescence measurements, electrophysiology and molecular engineering.

In addition to biological applications, our group is also constantly working on the development of new methods. These range from molecular optogenetic tools for controlling neuronal activity to methods for analyzing imaging data and developing new hardware for light-based manipulation and analysis of various neuronal structures in vitro and in vivo.

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Prof. Dr. rer. nat.
Simon Wiegert

Synaptic Wiring Lab

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