Memory is a fundamental aspect of brain function. It allows us to contribute daily to modern society. Memory deficits are the most devastating brain disorder. One of the most fundamental questions in neuroscience in this century is to understand the contribution of neuron types in the process of encoding, storage and retrieval of information.
Previous investigations have used recordings from single or pairs of interconnected neurons in cortical slice preparations. Although these studies provide detailed information on the properties of synaptic communication, to understand how populations of neurons collectively process information remains an open question.
New technologies such as recordings from neurons in vivo, imaging of cell activity using two photon Ca2+ imaging or functional imaging and optogenetic tools have been developed to address these questions. Functional imaging has been established whereas Ca2+ imaging and optogenetic tools are currently employed in the Bartos group.
On the basis of the obtained experimental data we use computational network models to gain information on the principles underlying information processing in complex neuronal circuits. With this combined approach we believe to contribute to a better understanding of neuronal network function and the mechanisms underlying cognitive deficits.