MPI of Neurobiology, Research Group: Circuits of Emotion Regulation
Research Group: Circuits of Emotion Regulation
Am Klopferspitz 18
+49 (0)89 / 8578 3493
How are individual differences in tending towards positive or negative affect, being resilient or susceptible to disorders of anxiety and mood, and judging emotions of self and others, laid down on a neuronal circuit level? How do early life experiences, intrinsic (genetic or physiological) and extrinsic (e.g. social) factors, influence and shape the affective personality?
To address these questions, our lab explores the development and plasticity of a neuronal network comprising prefrontal and limbic brain circuits, with a particular focus on the insular cortex. The insular cortex is implicated in diverse functions, ranging from emotional control and social behavior, to empathy and interoceptive awareness. Structural and functional alterations in insula circuitry have been found in neurological diseases such as autism, schizophrenia, anxiety and eating disorders. However, to date, very little is known about the development, organization and plasticity of the insula cortex, or how it is embedded in a wider limbic-prefrontal circuit.
For our research, we employ a combinatorial approach of behavioral essays, in vivo one- and two- photon imaging, and optogenetic techniques in awake, behaving mice. We hope that our results will advance the current knowledge of the neuronal architecture underlying emotional control and representation.
Primary Technique(s): Behavioral essays, in vivo one- and two-photon imaging, optogenetic techniques, viral tracing of neural circuits
Model Organism(s): mice