Among the key features of many psychiatric disorders are deficits in sensory-guided decision-making behavior. My main interest is to achieve a detailed understanding of the neural mechanisms underlying these deficits – all the way from the precise scale of ionic and synaptic currents to the larger scale of neural population dynamics.
Sensory-guided decision-making in daily life strongly depends on our behavioral state including the level of arousal, attention, motor movements and stress. On the neuronal level, behavioral states are associated with distinct patterns of electric activity. These state-dependent neural dynamics constitute an ongoing flow of activity on which sensory and cognitive signals propagate and are shaped by. Disruptions to this flow are associated with various disorders such as schizophrenia and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. Our research aims at dissecting the neural mechanisms that generate state-dependent neural dynamics during decision-making and to study their role in the etiology of psychiatric disorders. For this, we make us of cutting-edge techniques including in vivo intracellular- and extracellular high-density recordings, mouse behavior and optogenetics.
Offering PhD positions in 2024: Yes.