Large-scale Approaches to the Brain: Analysis of Anatomy and Physiology of the Cortical Column
The Neuroscience Focus Group of the TUM-IAS joined together the laboratories of Prof. Bert Sakmann, Prof. Arthur Konnerth and Prof. Thomas Misgeld. These three laboratories combined forces to develop and utilize approaches that allow large-scale analysis of brain structure and function. One example of their joint efforts is the analysis of cortical columns, the principal organizational units of cerebral cortex. Cortical columns are small, vertically-oriented networks of highly interconnected neurons, which pattern the cerebral cortex like a mosaic. Detailed analysis of this important building block of the brain provide a starting point for further analysis of mammalian behavior and neuro-psychiatric disorders.
The three laboratories, brought together in this Focus Group, provide complementary expertise for this endeavor: Bert Sakmann as one of the pioneers of modern electrophysiology; Arthur Konnerth as one of the world-leaders in using opto-physiological technology to analyze brain circuits; and Thomas Misgeld as a promising young neuromorphologist with a strong background in combining biomolecular sensors and intravital imaging techniques to visualize nerve cells in vivo.
Below a brief summary of the study topics of the individual laboratories and their specific aims within TUM-IAS:
Nobel laureate Bert Sakmann uses in vivo electrophysiology, electron microscopy and computer simulations to analyze structure and activity of nerve cells within cortical columns. His aim is to develop an in silico model of a typical cortical column. At TUM, he expects to initiate new collaborations, exploiting the on-campus expertise in optophysiology, neuromorphology, electrical engineering and computer sciences.
Leibniz laureate Arthur Konnerth develops methods to record and modulate neuronal activity using light. With these techniques, the Konnerth laboratory examines the input-output relationship of entire cortical micro-networks and analyses information processing during development and in models of neurodegenerative disease, such as Alzheimer’s dementia.
Through the IAS Hans Fischer Tenure Track Professorship, Kovalevskaja award winner Thomas Misgeld became a professor at the medical school of TUM. The Misgeld laboratory examines how nerve cells remodel during development and diseases, such as spinal injury and multiple sclerosis. His group aims at combining optical methods for measuring neuronal dynamics in vivo with post-hoc analysis by confocal and electron microscopy. Within the IAS, the Misgeld lab collaborates with the other Focus Group members to integrate electrophysiology, optophysiology and molecular morphology tools to obtain a comprehensive view of physiological and pathological CNS structures in vivo.
Grienberger, Christine; Rochefort, Nathalie L.; Adelsberger, Helmuth; Henning, Horst A.; Hill, Daniel N.; Reichwald, Julia; Staufenbiel, Matthias; Konnerth, Arthur: Staged decline of neuronal function in vivo in an animal model of Alzheimer's disease. Nature Communications 3, 2012, 774 mehr…
Oberlaender, M.; de Kock, C. P. J.; Bruno, R. M.; Ramirez, A.; Meyer, H. S.; Dercksen, V. J.; Helmstaedter, M.; Sakmann, B.: Cell Type-Specific Three-Dimensional Structure of Thalamocortical Circuits in a Column of Rat Vibrissal Cortex. Cerebral Cortex 22 (10), 2011, 2375-2391 mehr…
Varga, Z.; Jia, H.; Sakmann, B.; Konnerth, A.: Dendritic coding of multiple sensory inputs in single cortical neurons in vivo. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 108 (37), 2011, 15420-15425 mehr…