The correct wiring of the nervous system during development prepares the organism to respond to and interact with a large number of different environmental cues. Deficits in the precise assembly of neuronal networks lead to drastic and often lethal functional impairments. Neuronal processes find their targets in a stepwise manner, utilizing attractive and repulsive axon guidance proteins.
Our research aims to identify the cellular and molecular mechanisms regulating the formation of accurate neuronal connectivity during development as well as the mechanisms of adaptive plasticity in the mature nervous system. We address these questions by combining loss-and gain-of-function approaches in mouse and chicken with various cell culture paradigms and light microscope imaging of labeled neuronal and axonal subpopulations.
Understanding the molecular principles that govern the formation of neuronal circuits during development and their maintenance in the adult will help identifying strategies to re-establish functional circuits following trauma or neurological disease.
Dr Huber Brösamle is Head of the Bernstein Coordination Site since September 2013.