OpatzLab Developmental Neurophysiology

Developmental neurophysiology

The rhythm and melody of a piece of music is only conveyed successfully by an orchestra when each note is precisely timed, and when each instruments’ „voice“ is synchronized. The brain can also be considered an orchestra, with different brain regions representing „instruments“ and each neuron being a precisely time note. As in an orchestra, these components must coordinate their parts to create a meaningful „melody.“ Network oscillations have gained interest as an energy-efficient strategy for the organization and communication both within and between brain regions. In humans and animals oscillatory brain activity emerges very early in life, being already present in utero. While it is now known that these oscillations actively contribute to sensory perception and cognition in the adult brain, their function during development is still largely unknown.
Our group aims at elucidating the mechanisms underlying the maturation of neuronal networks under physiological and pathophysiological conditions. In particular, we assess the role of early network oscillations for the development of local and long-range communication in the brain in relationship with the emergence of cognitive behavior and multisensory perception. For this, we combine state-of-the-art electrophysiological methods and optogenetics with imaging and behavioral assessment. The following main topics are currently being investigated:

• Development of neuronal networks accounting for cognitive processing

• Dysfunction of neuronal networks and their early oscillations under pathological conditions (e.g. neuropsychiatric disorders, perinatal hypoxia-ischemia, perinatal stress)

• Uni- and multisensory processing and ontogeny

• Sensory control of the maturation of cognitive processing

• Development of neuro-immune cross talk and its role for pathologies later in life

Latest Publications

  • Congratulation to Steven to the new publication in Nature Communications!

    Steven and his colleagues investigated the molecular and cellular characteristics of maternal cells (short: MMc) that are transferred to the fetus during pregnancy. We showed that MMc seed the developing brain and influence the oscillatory entrainment of prefrontal-hippocampal circuits by altering microglia-induced synapse elimination. By this pathway, maternal cells contribute to the development of behavioral […]read more

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  • RT @for5159: Literature highlight of this week: Farrokhi et al. demonstrate the role of dynamic prefrontal phase-amplitude coupling between…
Opatz Lab
Developmental Neurophysiology