New @ the ZNZ

The ZNZ is growing! We are happy to welcome seven new group leaders.

Group Leaders:

Prof. Nora Maria Raschle
Jacobs Center for Productive Youth Development, University of Zurich

We study typical and atypical brain development with a particular focus on socioemotional and cognitive processes. We employ magnetic resonance imaging (f/MRI), eye-tracking, neurophysiological assessments, behavioral testing and clinical interviews. Our main goal is to contribute towards the early detection and characterization of developmental and mental health disorders. And most importantly, we always strive towards making paediatric neuroimaging child’s play, a fun and beneficial experience for all. More

Dr. Juliet Richetto
Institute for Veterinary Pharmacology and Toxicology, University of Zurich

Our research is centered upon the question of how early-life environmental adversities, such as prenatal infection or prenatal maternal isolation, can influence brain development and shape the risk of long-term brain abnormalities. Currently, we are investigating whether maternal social isolation, and concomitant pharmacological interventions, lead to genome-wide alterations in DNA methylation and gene expression in the offspring’s brain. In addition, we explore how the microbiome may affect the central nervous system through epigenetic mechanisms. More

Dr. Dr. Anna-Sophia Wahl
Brain Research Institute, University of Zurich

A prerequisite for the recovery of impaired brain function is the capacity of the central nervous system to induce plastic rewiring and reorganization processes after injury. My work aims at understanding fundamental principles of neuronal circuit rewiring and individual neuronal recoding as intrinsic repair mechanisms of the brain recruiting intact structures to regain lost or impaired functions. We use 2-photon calcium imaging in the behaving animal, opto- and chemogenetics, sophisticated behavioral assessments for sensorimotor and cognitive functions as well as deep learning algorithms. Our goal is to develop novel therapeutic approaches or optimized rehabilitative strategies in stroke and vascular dementia. More

Prof. Tommaso Patriarchi
Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology, University of Zurich

The sheer complexity of neural communication relies on the production and secretion of various neurochemicals. A central question in neuroscience is to understand how precise fluctuations of these molecules relate to behavior and disease. Yet, technologies capable of addressing this question in living animals with the required spatiotemporal resolution and molecular specificity are largely lacking. We develop novel genetically encoded fluorescent sensors based on combined engineering of fluorescent proteins and endogenous receptor molecules (e.g. G-protein coupled receptors) to enable optical dissection of neurochemical dynamics. More

Prof. Francesca Peri
Institute for Molecular Life Sciences, University of Zurich

Most aspects of brain development, function and repair are not mediated by neurons alone but emerge from their interactions with other cell types. Of our particular interest are microglia, the brain resident macrophages that can shape neuronal connectivity by removing dying neurons and synapses. By taking an in vivo approach that combines quantitative live imaging and cutting-edge perturbations in zebrafish, we study how microglia engulf neurons at single-cell resolution. We have developed tools to visualize and manipulate signals that control neuronal-microglia interactions and custom-designed microscopes that allow multi-positioning in toto brain imaging at subcellular resolution. More

Dr. Caroline Lustenberger
Institute of Movement Science and Sports, ETH Zurich

My mission is (1) to uncover how brain oscillations during sleep promote restorative processes of the brain and body up until old age, and (2) to develop innovative treatments that leverage on the role of sleep in brain and body restoration to promote healthy ageing and target functional deficits in different disorders. More

Junior Group Leader:

Dr. Michèle Hubli
Spinal Cord Injury Center, Balgrist University Hospital, University of Zurich

Our primary research interest are maladaptive neuroplastic changes after neurological trauma, such as spinal cord injury (SCI). Employing a variety of assessments of such changes within the somatosensory system, we investigate the development of neuropathic pain, as well as the autonomic nervous system in human SCI. Consolidated mechanistic understanding of the sensory and autonomic plasticity is highly relevant in the process of evaluation and design of novel therapeutic interventions in human SCI and the stratification of patients for clinical trials. More