Yearbook 2012

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Lately a lot of progress has been made, enhancing our understanding of how information is stored in the brain. It has become clear that changes in the points of connection between neurons – the synapses, play a major role. Technological progress in recent years has made it possible to actually observe such changes in the living brain. These observations clearly demonstrate functional as well as structural changes in the synapses. One remaining challenge is to observe and verify these changes in animals behaving and learning in a natural or at least semi-natural environment. more
How are complex processes such as sensory perception, regeneration of nervous tissue or the activation of the immune system during autoimmune disease orchestrated within the living organism? Although these questions appear quite different, fluorescent proteins offer tailor-made tools for these research areas. Scientists enhance their skills in designing and using these indicator proteins – from bacteria to neurons in mice. The design and properties of the proteins can be modified so that they show e.g. biochemical signal cascades or the firing of action potentials in neurons. more
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