Welcome to the community

We are proud to welcome our new members. Read on to learn about the research expertise they contribute to our community.

Prof. Angelika Steger, Group Leader
Institute of Theoretical Computer Science, ETH Zurich

Neurons exhibit large variances in their properties, and these properties vary over time. Synapses are known to be highly unreliable in forwarding signals: some 40%-80% of the time, they simply ignore the incoming signal instead of forwarding it. There are many indications that this randomness in the brain is not a ‘deficiency’ but that, quite to the contrary, it is an essential design principle. This is the motivation of our work: exhibiting examples of the usefulness of randomness in various aspects of neuroscience. More

Prof. Xiaomin Zhang, Group Leader
Laboratory of Neural Circuit Dynamics, Brain Research Institute, UZH

Newly encoded episodic memories are typically fragile due to constant interference with ongoing experiences and therefore require consolidation to form long-lasting memories. Our goal is to understand the cellular and circuitry mechanisms underlying episodic memory consolidation in healthy and Alzheimer’s disease animal models. Taking advantage of in vivo electrophysiological recordings and advanced optical tools, we will investigate the single-neuron dynamics, neuronal population coding properties, and their relations to neuromodulation during spatial memory consolidation. More

Dr. Sanne Kikkert, Group Leader
Neural Control of Movement Lab, ETH Zurich

Sensing through touch is fundamental to actively interacting with our environment. If we lose such sensory information through injury (e.g., spinal cord injury or limb loss), our brains are deprived of a major input source, and we are required to use novel motor strategies. My team’s research explores how human brains are affected by such changes, what neural mechanisms may underlie resulting neural reorganization, and how the human brain responds to sensory reinstatement through neuroprosthetics. More

Prof. Elvir Becirovic, Group Leader 
Department of Ophthalmology, University Hospital Zurich

Millions of people worldwide suffer from various forms of retinal diseases that can lead to total blindness. My group works at the interface between basic research and therapy of inherited retinal diseases (IRDs). We pursue several goals: Analysis of the pathophysiology of IRDs in mouse models. Development of new molecular diagnostic methods using genome editing. Analysis of mutations in genes associated with IRDs. Production, further development and application of adeno-associated viral (AAV) vectors, the gold standard vectors in gene therapy. Gene therapies in mouse models of IRDs and human retinal organoids. More

PD Dr. Katrin Rauen, Junior Group Leader
Center for Neuropsychiatry, Department of Geriatric Psychiatry, Psychiatry University Hospital Zurich

The overarching goal is to identify and validate clinical, blood, and advanced neuroimaging markers for patients suffering from acute or chronic traumatic brain injury (TBI) over the lifespan, thereby providing new clinical diagnostic algorithms and knowledge on the link between chronic neuroinflammation and posttraumatic neurodegeneration. This approach will help to develop new pharmacological and neuropsychiatric rehabilitation strategies for TBI patients and thus will provide the best quality of life for TBI patients and their relatives. More