Our research interest is directed towards the generation and analysis of transgenic mouse models in order to understand individual gene functions in the adult brain. Towards this goal, we employ mouse genetics, molecular and behavioral techniques.
Our current interest focuses on basic-helix-loop-helix (bHLH) transcription factors. Several loss- and gain-of-function mouse models of the bHLH family that we and others have analyzed display behavioral alterations frequently also observed in psychiatric diseases. Among these are alterations of the sleep-wake cycle, disturbed cognitive performances and stress responses. At the molecular level, we find several signaling pathways to be deregulated that likely provide a mechanistic link between disturbed environmental adaptations and deregulated gene expression. To study cellular signaling upstream of gene expression, we have developed a series of genetically encoded biosensors and molecular barcodes to perform systems-level analyses.
Currently, we aim at combining mouse models and genetic sensors to better understand the molecular adaptations of gene-environment interactions relevant for psychiatric and neurological diseases.
Offering PhD positions in 2024: Maybe.