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CBBS Research Group
Neural Circuits & Network Dynamics


Project leader: Dr. Janelle Pakan  


pakan smallThe neurons in our brain do not function in isolation; they are organized into complex circuits which perform highly specialized information processing tasks and transfer information through large neuronal networks. The aim of my research group is to better understand how neural circuits function during the transformation of information from sensory perception to behavioural response. Importantly, we also aim to further understand the cell-type specific processes that interrupt the flow of information through neural circuits in epilepsy as well as in neurodegenerative disorders, such as in posterior cortical atrophy and Alzheimer's disease.

The complexity of our behavior depends not only on the staggering number of neurons in the brain, but also on the precise identity of these neurons and the specific connections that they form. A simple reflex response, a complex mental process, and the cognitive decline accompanying dementia are all associated with the generation (or dysfunction) of elaborate spatial and temporal patterns of electrical activity. A vital step in understanding the functional principles of neural circuits is to directly observe the activity of local circuit elements with high temporal and spatial resolution. Two-photon microscopy is increasingly recognized as a crucial tool for these functional investigations; providing insight into how neural circuits encode information and transfer signals throughout various brain regions. My research group utilizes advanced in vivo two-photon microscopy to investigate the cell-type specific microcircuitry of the cerebral cortex as well as the functional circuitry underlying processes of sensory perception and attention in health and in various stages of dementia associated with neurodegeneration.


Otto-von-Guericke-Universität Magdeburg

LIN Leibniz Institute for Neurobiology Magdeburg

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