Neuronal activity in generating and alleviating neurological and psychiatric conditions
Flatlining and epileptic seizures are at the opposite ends of the spectrum of neuronal activity. From the developing to the aging organism, activities in-between those extremes determine the function and dysfunction of the brain. We are studying selected examples of neuronal activity driving developing circuits towards psychiatric disorders (schizophrenia, autism), alleviating declining functions in neurodegenerative diseases (Parkinson, Huntington), and regenerating injured circuits (spinal cord injury). Through exploring the effects of experimentally manipulated neuronal activity at the molecular, cellular, and behavioral levels we hope to contribute to elucidating the pathophysiological mechanisms of brain disorders as well as to developing potential therapies.
A central component of our activities is the development of the technologies that allow us to carry out the above described studies. Specifically, we are further developing bioluminescence-driven optogenetics, the stimulation or silencing of neuronal activity through the use of biological light, activating genetically targeted light-sensing opsins.
We are using a wide range of approaches and technologies for these studies, including molecular engineering, genetic engineering of model organisms, in vivo viral vector expression, in vitro multi electrode recordings, in vivo imaging, and behavioral analysis.
Open Lab Positions
We have openings for master's and graduate students as well as for post-baccalaureate fellows (a year or two between college graduation and starting medical or graduate school). Please contact Ute Hochgeschwender.
Ute Hochgeschwender, MD
Central Michigan University
Neuroscience Program & College of Medicine
Location: Lab - HP 2307; Office - CMED 2430