The Department of Neuronal Cell Biology was founded in 2005 with the appointment of Univ.-Prof. Michael Kiebler, investigating how individual synapses - the point of contact and communication between neurons - are altered during their lifetime and how this contributes to our ability to learn and remember.
In October 2021, Univ.-Prof. Wulf Haubensak was recruited as new head of the department. With this, the department now studies how circuits of interconnected neurons endow experiences and reactions with affective value (important, good or bad) - or emotions, in more general terms.
To this end, we use genetics and optogenetic methods to map brain circuits for affective processing and combine these manipulations with electrophysiology, Ca2+ imaging and fMRI to investigate how these circuits encode affective states, and in turn, how genes modulate circuit activity, emotional states, and behavioral responding.
Together, this research will explore the neuronal basis of emotions, a biomedically important part of our mental self, and the emergence of individuality in affective traits.