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PD Dr. Lars Kunz

Group Leader

Affiliation

LMU Division of Neurobiology

Contact

Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich
Biozentrum Martinsried
Department of Biology
Division of Neurobiology
Großhaderner Straße 2
D-82152 Planegg-Martinsried

Phone: +49 (89) 2180-74299
Fax: +49 (89) 2180-74304

Website: http://neuro.bio.lmu.de/members/systems_neuro_grothe/kunz_l/index.html

Research Focus

We are interested in cellular neuroenergetics, i.e. the correlation of metabolism and activity of neurons. Maintenance of the neuronal resting potential and re-establishing the ion gradients following an action potential are energetically costly processes, i.e. they consume a lot of ATP. How do neurons cope with this challenge? Which pathways and nutrients are involved? What is the role of astrocytes? These are the question we are trying to answer by studying auditory brainstem nuclei. Neurons in these nuclei are particularly interesting due to their biophysical specialisations with an extremely broad range of firing frequencies (up to 800 Hz) and very leaky membranes as a prerequisite for ultrafast computation. We intend to find out whether metabolic limitations govern neuronal firing and how metabolism and electrical activity interact mechanistically. This knowledge shall help to better understand metabolic dysfunctions involved in neurodegenerative diseases and to improve the interpretation of functional brain imaging, which is based upon neuronal metabolism.

Primary Technique(s): acute brainstem slices, autofluorescence imaging (NADH, FAD), ATP FRET imaging, oxygen monitoring, whole-cell patch-clamp recordings, voltage-sensitive dye imaging

Model Organism(s): auditory brainstem neurons of rodents