An's Research Interests



HDB activity during attention

We receive sensory information via our sensory organs and process this information in so-called “bottom-up” brain pathways. “Top-down” processing on the other hand is thought to interpret sensory information by mixing in experience and expectations. Our brain thereby actively influences our perception. Failure to do so can lead to medical conditions, such as attention deficit disorder or autism. It has already been shown that attention can modulate higher cortical responses.

Cholinergic neurons play an important role in attention behavior in different brain regions. The diagonal band of Broca (DB) is the source of cholinergic top-down projections to the whole cortical mantle as well as to the olfactory system. Therefore, we aim to understand how cholinergic DB projection to the olfactory bulb (OB) modulate attention behavior in mice.

Optogenetic techniques allow for a selective manipulation of cholinergic activity in the awake animal. To understand the role of DB in attention seeking behavior, we aim to manipulate DB cholinergic neurons using optogenetics while simultaneously record the firing pattern of OB output neurons to investigate top-down influences on early sensory processing in the awake animal.

It is expected that DB activation enhance attention behavior in mice. Extracellular recordings typically only allow to make rough predictions about cell identity. Therefore, we aim to supplement these data with high-resolution 2-photon recordings in transgenic animals in order to record from defined neuronal populations.


Keywords: Odor ∙ Attention∙ DB ∙ Cholinergic system