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Implants to control dopaminergic modulation of cortical neuronal network activity

Project description

Dopaminergic (DA) transmissions affect basic brain processes of humans such as cognition, memory, perception, and motor output. The impairment of cognitive functions caused by altered DA release is a core feature of several illnesses such as schizophrenia and Parkinson’s disease. Midbrain DA projections to the prefrontal cortex (PFC) arise in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) forming the mesocortical pathway. A degeneration of these neurons has been implicated in working memory deficits as well as reduced executive control observed in patients suffering from schizophrenia, depression and Parkinson’s disease. The BIG project aims to address this fundamental question on the PFC using optogenetic tools for in vivo cell type- and brain area-specific recruitment (channelrhodopsin) and silencing (halorhodopsin) of DA cells in the VTA. The Microsystems Materials Laboratory of IMTEK will be responsible for the development and realization of optrodes used for a simultaneous optical stimulation of DA neurons and recording of local neuronal activity.

Start/End of project

01.03.2013 until 28.02.2014

Project manager

Prof. Marlene Bartos

Contact person

Prof. Marlene Bartos


Prof. Marlene Bartos (Projektleitung), Institute for Physiology I, Universitäts Klinikum Freiburg Dr. Arvind Kumar, Bernstein Center Freiburg


Optogenetik, neuronale Sonden, optische Stimulation, Elektrophysiologie
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