Synaptic plasticity

In neuropsychiatric disorders associated with reduced cognitive abilities, such as age-related cognitive decline, but also mental retardation, the ability of synapses to alter their strength is strongly affected. As a result, information processing and neuronal network functioning is reduced, ultimately leading to cognitive decline and disability.

In cognitive processing disorders of Alzheimer’s disease and inherited mental retardation, single proteins such as amyloid beta protein and Fragile X mental retardation protein (FMRP) respectively, have been shown to strongly inhibit synaptic plasticity in hippocampal and cortical pathways. The integrated approach of this team to target specific proteins in identified cells will elucidate their role in plasticity in context of neuronal networks and bridge the gap between genes and networks in information processing disorders.

Key objective
The key objective of this Research Team is to investigate effects of specifically-targeted molecules on synaptic plasticity within single neurons and their surrounding networks in models of cognitive impairment.

Team 4.1 Students: Ioannis Kramvis, Julia Dawitz / Supervisor: Dr. Rhiannon Meredith
Team 4.2 Students: Nicholas Rajan, Giorgo La Fata / Supervisor: Prof. Claudia Bagni
Team 4.3 Student: Silvia Lombardo / Supervisor: Dr. Uwe Maskos