The main research interest of our lab is to elucidate the underlying molecular and cellular mechanisms of genetic psychiatric disorders such as psychomotor retardation, Fragile X syndrome (FXS), and sleep disturbances. To understand these brain deficiencies, we combine the use of genetic manipulations, real-time 2-photon imaging of single organelles, synapses and neurons, and video-tracking of behavior in live zebrafish. The zebrafish is a simple transparent vertebrate with conserved organization of the central nervous system. Furthermore, it is ideally suited for genetic manipulation and high-resolution imaging of the entire brain in a live animal. We develop zebrafish models for human brain disorders. The function of genes and neuronal circuits is determined using loss-of-function (CRISPR-mediated genome editing as well as genetic silencing and ablation of a specific neuronal population) and gain-of-function (transposon-mediated transgenesis) experiments. Our general goal is to link gene function with the development and plasticity of neuronal circuits that regulate specific behavior.

Faculty of Life Sciences ​​​