Using standard electrophysiological techniques (whole-cell recording), calcium imaging and computational modelling, we investigate the properties and the impact of synaptic transmission in the cerebral cortex. This includes short- and long-term changes in synapses that underlie information transfer, learning and memory. For this purpose we have a special interest in calcium homeostasis in nerve terminals, the role of calcium buffers and presynaptic stores in synaptic transmission and the changes that occur during learning and memory formation, including the dysfunction in neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer disease. In addition, we explore the impact of transmission onto the postsynaptic firing and information transfer, particularly when neuromodulators like noradrenaline and serotonin are present.
An other line of research looks at the calcium homeostasis in immature T cells in the thymus, where calcium entry is a critical determinant for subsequent thymic selection and differentiation. The current aim is to identify the molecular mechanisms involved in how calcium enters these thymocytes (nature and modulation of the channel) and how this leads to specific cell signalling (downstream signalling). This work is in collaboration with the Cancer and Vascular Biology (Professor Chris Parish).