We use the olfactory system as a model to analyze how information is extracted from sensory inputs, how information is stored in memory circuits, and how sensory inputs are used to inform behavior. We focus on the olfactory bulb and cortex of (adult) zebrafish and use a broad spectrum of methods including population imaging of neural activity, optogenetic manipulations, electrophysiology, behavioral training and EM-based circuit reconstruction. Recent studies include (1) a mechanistic analysis of neuronal computations in the olfactory bulb by the complete reconstruction of the wiring diagram of the larval zebrafish olfactory bulb after measuring neuronal activity patterns (“functional connectomics”), (2) the biophysical analysis of interactions between excitatory and inhibitory synaptic inputs to individual neurons in the zebrafish homolog of olfactory cortex, (3) an analysis of how associative conditioning modifies odor-to-valence mappings in a subregion of olfactory cortex, and (4) a study of behavioral and neural responses to unexpected sensory inputs in a virtual reality. In many of these studies we found that the specific organization of inhibitory interactions in distributed neuronal circuits is of key importance. The presentation will focus on one or two observations that highlight specific functions of patterned inhibition in neuronal computation.
1998 PhD, University of Tübingen and Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology, Tübingen, Germany
1995 MSc, University of Freiburg, Freiburg, Germany
2007- Senior Group Leader, Friedrich Miescher Institute for Biomedical Research, Basel
2001-2007 Research Group Leader, Max Planck Institute for Medical Research, Heidelberg, Germany
2000-2001 Junior Group Leader, Max Planck Institute for Medical Research, Heidelberg, Germany
1998-2000 Postdoctoral Fellow, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, USA
1998 Postdoctoral Fellow, Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology, Tübingen, Germany