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Marlene Bartos receives ERC Advanced Grant

The European Research Council awards 2.5 million euro funding to project on the functional role of inhibitory nerve cells in memory formation
 Marlene Bartos receives ERC Advanced Grant

Marlene Bartos, Source: University of Freiburg

Freiburg, Apr 09, 2018

The European Research Council (ERC) funds cutting-edge research in all disciplines – and now Prof. Dr. Marlene Bartos of the Institute of Physiology I at the University of Freiburg is receiving a 2.5 million euro Advanced Grant. The aim of the ERC’s Advanced Grant is to give established academics the opportunity to undertake high-risk research projects and to break new scientific ground. Bartos’ project will examine the functional role of inhibitory nerve cells in the formation of memory traces and in the control of cognitive behavior.

The processing of information in an individual’s brain enables the organisms to adapt to its continuously changing environment. Until now, it has been largely unclear how memory traces in neuronal networks develop during the learning process. Current theories suggest that experience-dependent modifications of synaptic communication between nerve cells enable neurons to form new cellular associations that together represent the new memory traces. It is further assumed, that inhibitory nerve cells have a large influence on this process. In contrast to excitatory cells of the central nervous system, these “interneurons” are enormously diverse in their cellular and synaptic properties. During the course of the ERC-funded project, Bartos together with her research group aims to study how cellular associations develop spatially and temporally as a function of the learning process, and to examine the contribution of inhibitory nerve cells to this process. This research is clinically relevant, as numerous studies indicate that dysfunctions of inhibitory nerve cells in cortical structures including the hippocampus play a key role in the emergence of neuropsychiatric diseases.

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