Development and function of hypothalamic neurons
Dept. of Developmental Genetics of the Nervous System
MPI for Medical Research
How is the cellular and functional diversity of the vertebrate nervous system generated? To understand the molecular mechanism of neuronal circuit formation, we study the development of the hypothalamus, a key integrative center in the brain that controls immense number of crucial bodily functions such as sleep, reproduction, food intake, and stress response. Our main biological model is the zebrafish which shares conserved developmental mechanism with mammals, yet contains much fewer neurons making it easier to analyze and manipulate these neurons. By combining forward genetics, transgenic approaches, and in vivo imaging in zebrafish together with biochemical analysis of protein function, we investigate basic paradigms for hypothalamic neuronal subtype specification and differentiation. Further, by monitoring and manipulating connectivity and neuronal activity in transgenic zebrafish expressing genetically encoded probes, we aim to study the development and functional properties of select hypothalamic circuits. Our special interest lies in the circuitry underlying stress response whose hyperactivation is implicated in depression.
Structure of the Group
|Group Leader:||Soojin Ryu|
|Postdoctoral fellows:||Rodrigo De Marco, Colette vom Berg|
|PhD Students:||Luis Castillo, Ulrich Herget, Heidrun Krabbenhoeft, Marcel Kegel|