Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is the most common form of dementia with currently more than 50 million patients worldwide suffering from impaired short-term memory and environmental disorientation. The symptoms are most likely due to degeneration of the hippocampus (HC), a brain region largely responsible for consolidation of spatial memory. However, the AD related neurodegenerative mechanisms in the hippocampus leading to spatial memory impairments remain elusive, since diverse populations of functionally and molecularly defined cell types constitutes HC’s network functionality. Our scientific goal is to define the neurophysiological mechanisms by which AD impairs the interaction of cell populations and how this impairment can predict deficits in spatial memory and behavior.
Dr. Stefan Dürschmid
Stefan Dürschmid received a diploma in Education (2005) and Psychology (2009). In 2013 he finished his PhD and was a visiting scholar at UC Berkeley (2013-2014). Stefan Dürschmid is head of the research group “sensory learning and predictions“ and submit his Habilitationsschrift in 2021 at the Otto-von-Guericke Universität.
Prof. Dr. med. Stefan Remy
Stefan Remy is the scientific director of LIN, head of the Department of Cellular Neuroscience and is Professor of Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience at the Medical Faculty of Otto von Guericke University in Magdeburg.
He received his PhD from the University of Bonn in 2003 and subsequently did his postdoctoral research with Heinz Beck at the Department of Epileptology (Director: Christian E. Elger). As an Alexander von Humboldt Fellow, he joined the Department of Neurobiology and Physiologist at Northwestern University in Evanston, USA. There he conducted research on synaptic plasticity and neuronal excitability under Nelson Spruston. In 2007, he continued his research with Heinz Beck in Bonn, where he founded his own research group in 2009, funded by the state of North Rhine-Westphalia. Before taking up his new duties at LIN in 2020, he spent 10 years as head of the “Neuronal Networks” research group at the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases in Bonn. Stefan Remy is spokesperson of the Center for Behavioral Brain Sciences (CBBS) and represents the Magdeburg site (in the Jena-Magdeburg-Halle network) at the newly founded German Center for Mental Health.
Xinyun Che studied Biological Science at China Agriculture University during her undergraduate period. In 2019, she received her Master degree in Biotechnology at the University of Queensland. Before she starts her PhD study at Leibniz-Institut für Neurobiologie in Magdeburg in 2021, she worked as a research technician at the Chinese Academy of Sciences for one year.
Dr. Hiroshi Kaneko
Felix Kuhn obtained a bachelor’s degree in physics at the University of Würzburg in 2018. In 2021 he completed the master’s program Integrative Neuroscience at the Otto von Guericke University in Magdeburg. He did his master’s thesis in the research group Comparative Neuroscience at the Leibniz Institute for Neurobiology before he joined the department of Cellular Neuroscience for his PhD project.
In our experimental approach we use transgenic mice with AD specific hallmarks, such as the accumulation of amyloid beta plaques. We use fluorescence in-situ hybridization of cell type specific mRNA to identify differences in the prevalence and distribution of different molecular cell types between wild type and transgenic animals. With two-photon in vivo calcium imaging we are further able to image the activity of hundreds of neurons in the hippocampus of the animals while they are performing in a spatial memory task. Machine learning based analysis techniques allow us to find correlations between pathological behavior and impaired neuronal activity. We also investigate to which extend the transgenic animals allocate cognitive resources to compensate for the impairment of specific hippocampal circuitries.
Locomotion is known to alter HC activity in rodents. In a translational approach we study whether locomotion has the potential to regulate HC theta activity and leads to improvement of memory capacity in human subjects. The notion that motion and cognition are densely linked dates back to the astonishingly modern Peripatetic school of philosophy in ancient Greece. A central claim is that exercise can improve memory, attention, and help people think creatively. Unfortunately, only a few behavioral studies in humans showed that walking is associated with better performance in divergent thinking. However, the neurophysiological mechanisms at the functional neural network level are still unclear.
The aims of our research
The aim of our research is to investigate whether and how motion can affect the encoding of information into memory and retrieval of memory content and how neural network activity enables this motion and cognition interaction. Utilizing the exquisite temporal and spectral resolution of non-invasive magnetoencephalographic and invasive electrocorticographic recordings we seek to delineate the neuronal mechanisms.
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