Neuroplasticity and Rhythms

Research Interests

Our research group "Neuroplasticity and Rhythms" is interested in the interaction between brain electric rhythms and cognition, in particular sleep-associated memory processes. We have focused mostly on macroscopic brain rhythms such the sleep slow oscillation, sleep spindles and also theta activity in the EEG in humans and rodents, and their contribution to memory consolidation, learning and working memory. An important aspect of our research is to develop and use behavioral protocols which are closely comparable between humans and rodents.

The interaction between brain electric activity and behavior is bi-directional we investigate both the impact of manipulating brain rhythms (via weak electric currents/fields, sensory stimulation or pharmacologically) on cognitive activity, as well as the effect of cognitive events on the expression of oscillatory network activity.  

A main focus of ours is the use of non-invasive brain stimulation protocols to investigate the role of endogenous brain electric activity (reflected in EEG and local field potentials) for neuroplasticity and behavioral performance. Since the magnitude of fields induced by weak oscillatory and constant currents (tDCS, oscillatory-tDCS, tACS) lie in the range of endogenous brain electric activity this form of non-invasive manipulation is therefore hypothesized to simulate potential effects of endogenous brain rhythms involved in processes of neuroplasticity.  

Our current research projects investigate

  1. effects of weak electric currents on memory consolidation during sleep in humans    
  2. dissociate the relevance of neocortical and hippocampal networks contributing to the enhancement by weak electric currents on memory consolidation in rodents      
  3. brain neuromodulatory activity induced by weak electric currents  

For these projects we combine measurements of brain electric activity & neuromodulators during weak electric field and optogenetic manipulation in behaving humans and rodents.

Ongoing Funding & Collaborations

BMBF (CRCNS US-German; Thomas Martinetz, INB; Lisa Marshall;  Maxim Bazhenov, UCSD)

DFG/SPP1665 (Lisa Marshall; Alexey Ponomarenko, Charite Berlin; Achim Schweikard, Institute for Robotics and Cognitive Systems)

Graduate School for Computing in Medicine and Life Sciences (University of Lübeck)


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