The brain has been extensively studied from the cellular level, as well as from the cognitive level. However, it appears difficult to combine findings across these levels.
For example, the underlying neural basis of memory formation has been studied in detail at the single cell level, and many studies show that long-term potentiation and/or depression mechanisms, initiated by e.g. tetanic stimulation, cause changes in cortical connectivity. However, to bridge the gap to cognitive functions, such as learning or memory, we need to investigate the effects of such stimulation at the neural network level.
Comparably, common treatment against hyper excitability that occurs in epileptic brains is based on cellular mechanisms; anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs) usually aim to increase neuronal inhibition or decrease excitation. However, there are indications that networks may become hyper excitable when the level of ongoing activity is insufficient. If this is true, these commonly used AEDs may in certain situations even enlarge network excitability.
The major objective of this principal investigator track is to bridge the gap between intracellular and cognitive studies by investigating neurological phenomena at the network level.
Present projects focus on two general challenges at the network level:
- Memory in cultured cortical networks
- (Modulation of) Network excitability
- Joost le Feber
- Tim Witteveen
- Timo Lauteslager
- Wim Rutten
- Richard van Wezel
- Irina Stoyanova
- Bettie Klomphaar
- Marcel Weusthof