Neurobiology Lecture


The impact of pathological high frequency oscillations on hippocampal processing, and their separation from normal ripple-like events in rats with chronic epilepsy

Dr. Laura Ewell
Department of Epileptology
Life&Brain, University of Bonn


In epilepsy, neural networks in the brain generate pathological high frequency oscillations (pHFOs) during inter-ictal periods. These transient, fast oscillations occur in seizure-genic zones, and therefore serve as a biomarker for locating the seizure focus during tissue resection surgery. Complicating matters, there are some brain networks, like the hippocampus in the temporal lobe, that generate normal high frequency oscillations, which are fundamental for cognition. Therefore, in temporal lobe epilepsy, a major challenge is to properly separate and classify normal and pathological high frequency oscillations for proper treatment of patients. To aid classification, a better understanding on how pHFOs are distinct from normal oscillations in overlapping frequency bands and how they may alter ongoing brain activity is needed. To answer these questions, we performed high-density single unit and local field potential recordings from the hippocampi of behaving rats. In animals with epilepsy we observed two types of fast oscillations, which we could classify as putative 'ripple-like' or 'pHFO' using a clustering analysis based on the frequency and amplitude of their associated slow wave. Validating our classifier, ripple-like events had a similar brain state dependence as ripples recorded in control animals, occurring selectively during periods of slow wave activity. However, pHFOs had abnormal brain state dependence, occurring during both theta and slow wave states. Most neurons that were modulated by high frequency oscillations were only active during one event type suggesting that sub-networks in hippocampus are pathological. Generally, spatial representations of hippocampal neurons were disrupted, having spatial firing fields that were less precise and stable. However, when neurons had spikes that occurred during pHFOs, those spikes had a negative impact on the spatial information of the neuron. Our findings highlight that pHFOs can have negative impacts on an already largely compromised hippocampal code, corroborating the need for proper classification of pHFOs so that treatments can be developed to selectively target them.


Im Neunheimer Feld 306, Heidelberg



Neurobiology / SFB1134 Lecture


Prefrontal-subcortical interactions supporting spatial working memory

Dr. Torfi Sigurdsson
Institute Of Neurophysiology,
Goethe University, Frankfurt


The prefrontal cortex plays a key role in many cognitive processes including attention, working memory and decision-making. However, during these process the prefrontal cortex does not act alone but interacts with several cortical and subcortical structures in order to support adaptive behavior. In the talk, I will describe experiments using multi-site recordings to examine how interactions between the prefrontal cortex and one of its subcortical interaction partners – the dopaminergic system of the ventral tegmental area – contribute to spatial working memory performance in mice. I will also compare results obtained from wild-type mice with data obtained from genetically engineered mouse lines that display working memory deficits. Together these experiments provide insights into how prefrontal subcortical-interactions support cognitive functions and how their disruption could lead to cognitive deficits.


Im Neunheimer Feld 306, Heidelberg


Welcome to the IZN Home Page
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Protection For Nerve Cells Delivered Through The Nose

Brain sections of control-treated (bottom) and nasal Activin A-treated (top) mice after a stroke. The white line marks the border between the healthy and damaged brain regions.

Material and picture:
Dr Bettina Buchthal

Protective proteins that mitigate the destruction of nerve cells after a stroke can be administered into the brain through the nose, as Heidelberg University researchers demonstrated using a mouse model.

The team led by Prof. Dr Hilmar Bading is laying the scientific groundwork for new forms of therapy that inhibit degenerative processes in humans. Prof. Bading's team is concentrating on the body's own neuroprotective mechanisms. The most recent results of their work were published in “Molecular Therapy”.

In cooperation with Dr. Bettina Buchthal and Ursula Weiß, Prof. Bading was able to demonstrate that nasal administration paves the way for new treatment approaches for neurodegenerative diseases. They verified this concept using a mouse model. According to Hilmar Bading, mice who received this treatment exhibited less brain damage after a stroke in certain regions of the brain.


Special Issue "150 Years of Motor Endplate: Molecules, Cells, and Relevance of a Model Synapse"


Guest Editor: Prof. Dr. Rüdiger Rudolf Externer Inhalt

Dear Colleagues,

More than 150 years after the terms ‘plaques nerveuses terminales’ and ‘motorische Endplatte’ were coined by Charles Rouget and Wilhelm Krause, respectively, the neuromuscular synapse continues to be crucial for the musculoskeletal and neural sciences. Having always served as a model in terms of morphological and molecular configuration of chemical synapses, recent research has renewed an interest in the involvement of the motor endplate in general systemic functions of muscle beyond inducing contraction. Along these lines, the endplate has lately also attracted increasing attention with respect to its role in pathophysiology and aging.

This Special Issue of Cells will focus on the progress in understanding the molecular and cellular frameworks that regulate and mediate formation, maintenance, and repair of the motor endplate in normal physiology and upon pathological conditions. Further, it will address consequences of these insights on treatment of neuromuscular diseases and muscle wasting conditions.

Dr. Rüdiger Rudolf
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

IZN Retreat July 2018


And the winners are:

2018maxrichterizn-chsyounginvestigatorneuroscience 2018diegobenusiglioiznposter 2018melinacastelanellifoundationbrainaid

IZN / Chica and Heinz Schaller Young Investigator Neuroscience Award:

Max Richter

IZN Students Poster Prize:

Diego Benusiglio

Diego Benusiglio, Yan Tang, Shiyi Wang, Xinying Liu, Valery Grinevich: Sensory-driven activation of oxytocin neurons during social interaction

Foundation BrainAid IZN Master’s Award 2018:

Melina Castelanelli

Evaluation of neuronal optogenetic manipulation in vitro and in freely moving mice

Photos by Jing Yan, IZN Neurobiology. All photos here.

IZN Chica and Heinz Schaller Young Investigator Neuroscience Award zum dritten Mal vergeben

Anlässlich des jährlichen Retreats des Interdisziplinären Zentrums für Neurowissenschaften (IZN) im Kloster Schöntal wurde am 02.07.18 zum dritten Mal der IZN Chica and Heinz Schaller Young Investigator Neuroscience Award für eine herausragende Publikation auf dem Gebiet der Neurowissenschaften vergeben. Der Preis ist mit 1.000 Euro dotiert und benannt nach den Stiftern, Frau Professor Chica Schaller und Herrn Professor Heinz Schaller (†2010), die beide am Wissenschaftsstandort Heidelberg tätig waren und als Pioniere der modernen Molekularbiologie und Neurobiologie gelten.

Preisträger ist der 29-jährige Max Richter, der für seine im April 2018 erschienene Arbeit „Distinct in vivo roles of secreted APP ectodomain variants APPsα and APPsβ in regulation of spine density, synaptic plasticity, and cognition“ ausgezeichnet wurde. Diese Arbeit wurde in der renommierten Zeitschrift „EMBO Journal“ publiziert, darüber hinaus wurde eine Gewebsfärbung aus der Arbeit für das Titelbild der Zeitschrift ausgewählt.

Das Preiskomitee begründet seine Entscheidung wie folgt: Die Studie von Herrn Richter und seinen Kolleginnen und Kollegen zeigt einen neuen, potentiell therapeutisch nutzbaren Ansatz, die Alzheimer Erkrankung zu behandeln. Dazu wurde ein Protein identifiziert, welches das Denkvermögen und die Merkfähigkeit im Modell der Alzheimer Erkrankung verbessert. Dieses Protein ist ein Spaltprodukt des sog. Amyloid Precursor Proteins, dem bisher eine ausschließlich negative, krankheits-begünstigende Funktion zugeschrieben wurde. Vor dem Hintergrund der in jüngster Vergangenheit fehlgeschlagenen großen multizentrischen Studien zur Alzheimer Erkrankung und der Entscheidung zahlreicher pharmazeutischer Unternehmen, ihre Forschung auf dem so wichtigen Gebiet der Alzheimer Erkrankung zu stoppen, würdigt das Preiskomitee den engagierten Einsatz universitärer Forscher wie Herrn Richter, die dem Feld der Alzheimer Forschung neue Impulse und Hoffnung geben.

Hannah Monyer erhält den Akademiepreis 2018 der Berlin-Brandenburgischen Akademie der Wissenschaften

MonyerBerlin, 25. Juni 2018. Der mit 50.000 Euro dotierte Akademiepreis der Berlin-Brandenburgischen Akademie der Wissenschaften für herausragende wissenschaftliche Leistungen geht in diesem Jahr an die Neurowissenschaftlerin Prof. Dr. Hannah Monyer, Leiterin der Abteilung Klinische Neurobiologie, Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum (DKFZ) Heidelberg und Medizinische Fakultät der Universität Heidelberg. Der Preis gehört zu den höchsten Auszeichnungen, welche die Akademie zu vergeben hat. Die Preisverleihung findet am 30. Juni 2018 im Rahmen der Festsitzung zum Leibniztag statt.

Die herausragenden wissenschaftlichen Leistungen Hannah Monyers beruhen darauf, dass sie in bewundernswerter Weise zentrale Fragen der Hirnforschung stets mit einem Repertoire von fortgeschrittensten experimentellen Methoden u.a. aus der Gentechnik, der Optogenetik und der Elektrophysiologie angeht. Mehr...

Researchers discover receptor for the protein fragment APPsα mediating its physiological function

A cleavage product of the Alzheimer's APP protein stimulates nerve cell communication and memory. The protein fragment, known as APPsα, has neuroprotective properties and acts as a signal molecule on other nerve cells. But how does it influence brain functions?

An international research team led by Prof. Dr Ulrike Müller Externer Inhalt of the IZN has gained new insights into the molecular mechanism underlying its physiological functions. Full article...Externer Inhalt

Photo: Max Richter, Müller research group
Neuroprotective role of APPsα: A histological section through the hippocampus is depicted in the background. The red staining shows APPsα in neuronal cell bodies. The green staining shows the dendritic processes of nerve cells.

EMBL scientists discover how a molecule’s role changes from simple metabolite to instructive signal

ArendtAmong developmental biologists, the signalling molecule retinoic acid is well known for its role in building the vertebrate body. Not much is known, however, about how such signals emerge in evolution. To investigate this, the IZN's Detlef Arendt Externer Inhalt lab at EMBL in Heidelberg has studied the role of retinoic acid signalling in a marine worm. In the study published in Science Advances Externer Inhalt, the team and its collaborators show that in the worm, retinoic acid acts like a metabolic timer that helps neurons to form at the right time and place during development.

Image: Mette Handberg-Thorsager/EMBL



Open positions at the IZN

  • The group of Prof. Draguhn at the Institute for Physiology and Pathophysiology is looking for a scientific research associate for neurophysiology. The applicant should be interested in studying neuronal network oscillations and functional ensembles in the hippocampus and adjacent brain areas of the rodent. The work will be at the cellular, network and behavioral levels, both in vitro and in vivo. In addition to research, the work will include teaching medical students the whole field of physiology. Adobe
    posted 09.2018

  • The Center for Biomedicine and Medical Technology Mannheim (CBTM) is seeking a full-time scientific assistant in the Department of Neurophysiology (Prof. Treede). The focus of the group is on translational pain research (models of back pain and nerve pain, diabetes consequences, signal transduction). Adobe
    posted 09.2018

  • The group of Prof.Dr. Beate Niesler is seeking a Master Thesis student to work on neurogastroenterologic disorders, resulting impairments of the enteric nervous system (ENS), the 'second brain' in our gut, and the elucidation of underlying pathomechanisms. Adobe
    posted 07.2018

  • The Department of Experimental Pain Research at the Medical Faculty Mannheim (Prof.Dr. Martin Schmelz) is offering a PhD position in a project funded by the German Science Foundation (DFG) entitled 'Selective activation of nociceptor sub-groups by slowly depolarizing electrical stimuli'. Adobe
    posted 07.2018

  • The research group of Dr. Kevin Allen is seeking a student to work as a research assistant (HiWi) on the neuronal basis of spatial behavior. The group is interested in the spatial representations generated within the mammalian brain and their contributions to spatial behavior and memory. The spatial representations generated by grid cells in the medial entorhinal cortex are a prominent example. The student will acquire experience in a wide array of techniques, including in vivo tetrode recordings in mice, data analysis, and histological analysis. Adobe
    posted 07.2018

  • The Functional Neuroanatomy group of Prof. Dr. Thomas Kuner is searching for a highly motivated PhD student to investigate the synaptic nanoarchitecture with a focus on the distribution of synaptic vesicle proteins. The project will employ a super-resolution microscopy setup (3D /d/STORM) equipped with an automated pipetting system. Adobe

    Furthermore, a Master or an MD position is open for a sub-project intended to delineate the ultrastructural organization of active zones. Adobe posted 07.2018
  • The research group of Prof. Andreas Draguhn is offering a PhD position to help untangle the molecular mechanisims by which Bcl11b/Ctip2 regulates development, maintenance and network-level functions of mossy fiber connectivitiy in CA3. The project combines state-of-the-art molecular, ultrastructural as well as electrophysiological strategies, and it will qualify PhD students both in the field of molecular/cellular neurobiology as well as cellular/systems neurophysiology. Adobe posted 06.2018
  • A PhD position is open at the Department of Neurophysiology lead by Prof. Treede to validate electrophysiological techniques on human models of pain. The main objective of the work is to improve the translatability of recordings in pain pathways of healthy subjects and preclinical species. The successful candidate will investigate the analgesic effects in the brain, the spinal cord and the peripheral nervous system. Adobe posted 05.2018
  • The research group of Dr. Sidney Cambridge (Department of Functional Neuroanatomy, Prof.Dr. Thomas Kuner) is looking for a highly motivated and well-trained student (f/m) for a Masters research project in cellular neurophysiology. The project will involve genetic manipulation of neuronal activity in a small population and assessing network changes in activity as compensatory homeostatic mechanisms. Adobe posted 05.2018
  • A PhD position in Neurobiology and Alzheimer Research is available in the laboratory of Prof. Ulrike Müller Externer Inhalt studying the synaptic roles of the APP gene family and their processing products. Techniques employed include state-of-the-art molecular biology, biochemistry, imaging and work with genetically modified mouse mutants (gain and loss of function studies) and viral vectors. Adobe posted 04.2018
  • The Ruiz de Almodóvar group is interested in the mechanisms of neurovascular development in mice and is looking for a motivated HiWi student to help with basic experimental techniques such as mouse genotyping, cell culture and histology. Adobe posted 03.2018
  • The Developmental Neurobiology group of Prof. Elisabeth Pollerberg is looking for a highly motivated postdoc whose project will focus on the interactions of cell adhesion molecules with other types of proteins and the impact of these interactions on axon elongation and navigation. Substantial amounts of data have already been collected for several projects and the postdoc is expected to complete and publish these studies. In addition, a new translational project could be started aiming at the improvement of axon regeneration. Adobe posted 02.2018



Managing Director:
Prof. Dr. Hilmar Bading
IZN-Neurobiology, University of Heidelberg
Im Neuenheimer Feld 364
D-69120 Heidelberg, Germany

Phone:  +49 - 6221 - 54 8218
Fax:  +49 - 6221 - 54 6700
email:  Bading@nbio.uni-heidelberg.de


Dr. Otto Bräunling
IZN-Neurobiology, University of Heidelberg
Im Neuenheimer Feld 364, 1.OG
D-69120 Heidelberg, Germany

Phone:  +49 - 6221 - 54 8694, 56 39007
Fax:  +49 - 6221 - 54 6700
email:  Braeunling@nbio.uni-heidelberg.de


Administration & Information:
Irmela Meng
IZN-Neurobiology, University of Heidelberg
Im Neuenheimer Feld 364, 1.OG
D-69120 Heidelberg, Germany

Phone:  +49 - 6221 - 54 8219
Fax:  +49 - 6221 - 54 6700
email:  Sekretariat@nbio.uni-heidelberg.de

Webmaster contact: WebmasterIZN@uni-heidelberg.de
Latest Revision: 2018-09-19
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