The German Research Foundation (DFG) has granted EUR 2.6 million in funds to the UKE’s FOR 2419 research group from January 1, 2019, a press release said Wednesday (January 2, 2019). The group is investigating “Plasticity versus Stability – Molecular Mechanisms of Synapse Strength” to discover how people learn and remember. The UKE research network will receive further backing from scientists at the Centre for Structural Systems Biology in Hamburg and at the University of Mainz this year.
On the trail of the control centre
Neuronal networks whose nerve cells are interconnected by synapses mediate the storage and retrieval of information in the brain. While their rough interconnection can be stable over many years, the strength and fine structure of individual synapses changes with every action, making it possible to learn and remember the past. An increasing number of cognitive and psychiatric disorders such as anxiety disorders, schizophrenia and certain forms of autism can now be traced back to faulty regulation of synapses.
The researchers are now concentrating on molecular processes in nerve cells to understand how genes and proteins of a synapse mediate thinking. The research group FOR 2419 has set itself the goal of applying state-of-the-art molecular, optogenetic and imaging methods to visualize the brain’s cellular processes and to propose new therapeutic options to counteract amnesia.
Sources and further information: