Molecular mechanisms of neuronal circuit formation

The correct wiring of the nervous system is crucial for its function as an information-processing network. Our research focuses on the molecular mechanisms underlying the establishment of neural circuits. Due to the complexity of this process experiments addressing the function of individual molecules in axonal navigation have to be carried out in the context of a living organism. Due to its accessibility during development, we have chosen the chicken embryo as a model organism. With in ovo RNAi (in ovo RNA interference) we have established a technique that allows us to silence genes in a temporally and spatially controlled manner, an important asset for studying the role of an individual gene product in the development of the nervous system.

Our research includes the following projects:

    In ovo RNAi and ex ovo RNAi – tools to study gene function in the developing nervous system
    A balance between positive and negative signals controls midline crossing by axons
    New tricks for an old dog: Sonic hedgehog is a guidance cue for postcommissural axons
    Chronic pain – when sensory afferents form aberrant connections