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| Home > Departments > Center for Experimental Medicine > Department of Neurophysiology and Pathophysiology > Somatosensory Neurophysiology

Research Group:

Somatosensory Neurophysiology

[head of group:]
  Prof.Dr.rer.nat.  Christiane Vahle-Hinz
Professor of Physiology
[group members:]
  Dipl.Ing. Matthias Siemers
Technical Informatics Engineer
  Dipl.Biol. Sina Sieler
Doctoral candidate
[equipment / methods:]
  • Single-, multi-neuron and local field potential recording
  • Microiontophoresis of neurotransmitter agonists/-antagonists
  • Tactile and noxious stimulation
  • Histology of central nervous system
  • Immunohistochemistry and anatomical tracing
[research topics:]
  Physiology of the somatosensory and nociceptive system.
[functional role of oscillatory activity in the context of tactile processing:]
  We use the whisker system of rodents as a model to study how distributed information about the animals surroundings is integrated to form a coherent percept. The tactile information in this case originates from about 30 large and hundreds of small whiskers of the whisker pads on both sides of the snout, which are used to probe surfaces and to discriminate between objects. This goal requires integration and selection of response activity from the spatial separate respresentation of individual whiskers in the somatosensory cortex as well as between both hemispheres. To what extent neural synchronization and oscillatory response patterning does play a role in these binding processes is currently under study.
[mechanisms of anesthesia:]
  Questions about where and how general anesthetics exert their effects, such as analgesia, hypnosis and amnesia are still largely unsolved and under extensive investigation. In electrophysiological experiments on rodents combined with microiontophoresis we could identify the thalamus as the pivotal stage for action of inhaled anesthetics (Isoflurane, Halothane) in the ascending sensory pathway and the GABAA-receptor as the major cellular site for their suppressive effects on sensory processing. In contrast, subthalamic sites appear to be trageted by intravenous agents like Propofol or Remifentanil; their cellular mechanisms are currently under study.
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last update: Eckehard Scharein, 18.01.2011