Werner Reichardt Centrum für Integrative Neurowissenschaften (CIN)

Neural Circuits and Behavior

How Neuronal Circuits Control Behaviour

The long term goal of our research is to reach a mechanistic understanding of how anatomically-defined neuronal circuits contribute to cognitive representations and behavior.

We mainly focus on the rodent spatial memory system as a model for understanding how cognitive functions - like internal representation of external space - can emerge from the underlying circuit structure. The experimental accessibility of internally-generated patterns of activity (i.e. place cells and grid cells) offers an unprecedent opportunity for exploring the mechanisms of a “cognitive map of space” at the cellular, circuit and synaptic level.


We have developed (Burgalossi et al., Neuron 2011) and further optimized (e.g. Tang et al., Nature Protocols 2014; Diamantaki et al., Cell Reports 2018) a juxtacellular recording method, which allows morphological identification and stimulation of single neurons in freely-moving rodents (rats and mice). We employ single-cell identification and single-cell stimulation techniques for gaining insights into the structural correlates and plasticity of spatial coding in the entorhinal-hippocampal circuit. Our single-cell approach is currently complemented with more standard optogenetic and extracellular recording techniques.