Institute of Anatomy, University of Zurich
We investigate the neural basis of cognitive function in the normal and diseased brain mainly using mice as animal models. Behavioral studies are combined with histological visualization and quantification of neuronal activity and plasticity, stereotactic lesions, neuropharmacology, and manipulation of gene expression in the brain (in collaboration with other labs). We also study the influence of normal genetic variation, environment and life style (in particular physical activity) on cognitive function and the underlying brain circuitry.
2 technicians (part-time), 2 post-docs, 1 senior researcher (part-time), 3 PhD students
We are currently developing new approaches to assess cognitive functions of mice more efficiently and reliably in a fully automated social home cage setting (IntelliCage). Protocols to test various forms of learning, behavioral control and attention have been established and validated using lesion studies and strain comparisons. In collaboration with other labs we now mainly use them to study the normal function of amyloid precursor and related proteins and their role in dementia.
IntelliCage apparatus and effect of hippocampal lesions on the learning of increasingly difficult rules predicting where drinking water is available.
One future research direction will be to investigate the role of synaptic dysfunction in psychiatric disease, in particular autism and schizophrenia. In the context of the new ETH department D-HEST, we also plan to intensify our analysis of the influence of life style (physical activity and diet) on cognitive function.
Laboratory for behavioral analysis of mice: standard tests for learning and memory, sensory-motor function, anxiety and exploration, social behavior; fully automated assessment of behavior in the home cage (IntelliCage); recording and analysis of ultrasonic vocalizations. Histochemistry and immunohistochemistry, stereology (StereoInvestigator).
Swiss NF, European Union, ZHIP
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