Laboratory for Neuronal Circuit Dynamics

Our laboratory specialises on the technical development and application of light- and genetics-based functional imaging approaches to understand how behaviour emerges from the electrical activities of neuronal circuits. Using genetically encoded indicators, we pursue a mesoscopic imaging approach that bridges cellular and system levels of understanding. 

Research themes

One of the key challenges in current neurosciences is to understand how the brain generates behavior and cognition out of the collective electrical activity of cortical nerve cells. The main research focus of our group is to address this challenge using a combination of approaches, including optical imaging in vivo and ex vivo, optogenetic manipulations, electrophysiology, and cellular and molecular biology techniques. 

Using this multidisciplinary approach, we focus on several main research themes: 

Cortical dynamics and behaviour

  • Linking cortex-wide patterns of electrical activity with goal-directed behaviour
  • Elucidating features of cortical circuit dynamics and information content
  • Circuit plasticity

Neuropharamcology and Disorders

  • Investigating the cortical mechanism of action of psychedelic drugs
  • Imaging amyloid-B aggregation in the synapse

In addition we are committed to further understand and develop neurotechnology and optical imaging methods. Our current interests are:

  • Exploring the effects of transcranial magnetic stimulation on cortical circuit dynamics
  • Development and tuning of genetically encoded voltage indicator imaging 

Optogenetics and Circuit Neurosciences

Current laboratory members

Thomas Knöpfel - Prinicipal Investigator

Tobias Buchborn - Marie Sklodowska-Curie Research Fellow

NN - NIH funded postdoc

Samuel Barnes - Safra Research Fellow

Chenchen Song - Research Assistant

Gemma Oliver - Research Technician

Peter Quicke (Neurotechnology PhD student, co-supervised with Simon Schultz)

Taylor Lyons (PhD student, co-supervised by David Nutt)

Gerald Moore (Neurotechnology PhD student, co-supervised by David Holder and Simon Schultz)

Elisa Ciglieri (Visiting student)

Main collaborators (Imperial)

Robert Leech and David Sharp (C3NL)

Simon Schultz (Neurotechnology)

Peter Kohl (Cardiac Biophysics and Systems Biology)

David Nutt (Neuropharmacology Unit)

Claudia Clopath (Bioengineering)

Bryn Owen (Endocrinology)

Main collaborators (External)

Srdjan Antic, University of Connecticut, USA

Voltage imaging technologies

Ruth Empson, University of Otago, New Zealand

Voltage imaging technologies 

Matteo Carandini and Kenneth Harris, University College London, UK

Mouse psychophysics and mathematical analytical methods

Hongkui Zeng, Allen Institute for Brain Science, USA

Development of next generation transgenic mouse models 

Cris Neill, University of Oregon, USA

Visual system and imaging approaches 

Dirk Jancke, Ruhr Universität Bochum, Germany

Combined transcranial magnetic stimulation and optical imaging 

Wolfram Zimmermann, Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, Germany

Application of voltage imaging technologies cardiac sciences 

Woodrew Shew, University of Arkansas, USA

Cortical information content and dynamics