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Research interests

Astrocytes, the most abundant type of glia cell in the brain, are much more than brain’glue’: Apart from giving structural and metabolic support to neurones, they actively participate in information processing on multiple levels.

We are particularly interested in the special relationship between astrocytes and noradrenergic neurones which constitute a major modulatory system that regulates fundamental brain states and vital functions, such as wakefuleness, attention to important stimuli, motivation, cardiovascular and respiratory activity.

The major questions our lab is currently focussing on are:

  • How does astroglial activity link to release of noradrenaline, and vice versa?
  • Which intracellular second messenger pathways are responsible for modulating release of the relevant glio- and neurotransmitters?
  • What are the physiological consequences of release, for example, for central control of blood pressure, cortical EEG, and behaviour?

We are addressing these questions by using a combination of electrophysiological (patch clamp; amperometry; fast scan cyclic voltammetry), optical (confocal imaging of living brain slice cultures; cell-specific optogenetic stimulation), molecular (viral gene transfer) and pharmacological tools.

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