Institute for Neurobiology

Neuroethology Lab

Prof. Dr. Jan Benda and Dr. Jan Grewe

Welcome to the website of our neuroethology lab. We aim to understand general principles of neural information processing. In our in vivo and in vitro Electrophysiology experiments we measure cellular properties of single neurons in response to sensory stimuli and/or injected currents. With methods from Computational Neuroscience we analyze the recordings and create, simulate, and analyze models in order to generalize our experimental results. We quantify Animal Behavior and Natural Sensory Stimuli in the lab as well as in natural habitats to better understand the design and operating regimes of neural systems. Consequently we are also interested in the Evolution and Ecology of our model animals.

We focus on the electrosensory system of Neotropical weakly electric fish. In this system we can easily access cellular properties of neurons, we can precisely stimulate, and we know a range of interesting behaviors like prey detection, navigation, and Communication this system is specialized to.

In a collaboration with Prof. Holger Lerche we analyse the effects of sodium-channel mutations on the firing properties of neurons in the context of epilepsies using our expertise in experimental and in particular theoretical neurophysiology.

A big problem in the neurosciences is the exchange of data. Each lab uses its own file format, often the data are not well annotated, and not all formats can be read on each computer platform. This makes the reproducibility of experiments and data analysis and collaborations difficult or even impossible. In various projects in collaboration with the German Neuroninformatics Node we work on solutions for data annotation and sharing (see Software).