Professor Dr Jens-Karl Eilers, Faculty of Medicine, Carl Ludwig Institute of Physiology, Leipzig, Germany.
The department of Neurophysiology investigates the roles of messenger substances in the brain and develops measuring methods for determining the exact concentration of these messengers in order to be able to analyze the processes of maturation of the brain. Calcium – one of these messenger substances – is the focus of our research interest.
Transient increases in the concentration of calcium seem to be of central importance for development of neural cells as well as for learning and memory processes. The scientists are investigating the neural calcium-signaling and its target molecules on a molecular level. Since these signals last only a few tenths of a second and appear to some extent only in femto liter cell-compartments, high-resolution fluorescence techniques like the confocal- and the two-photon-microscopy are used. In combination with numeric models for the kinetic interaction of channels, pumps, buffer and diffusion, they try to encrypt the functional role of this silent signal processing.
Other main research interests are: identification of the chloride concentration in intact neurons by using fluorescence lifetime imaging (FLIM). Investigation of proteine-proteine interactions in sub-micrometer cell compartments by means of fluorescence recovery after photobleaching (FRAP).