I am a neuroscientist at the University of Bonn Medical Centre in the Department of Epilepsy. I’m a basic researcher interested in neurones and their mirco-networks that underlie the functions of the brain.
I did my undergraduate degree in Pharmacology at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland, in the laboratory of Prof. Dave Spanswick. There, I was first exposed to the patch-clamp technique and got hooked on recording neuronal activity in real-time. I then moved to beautiful Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, where I did my PhD in Physiology at UBC with Prof. John Church. With John I developed as an electrophysiologist and learned ion imaging. This allowed me to ask questions about how the activity of neurones is modulated: in particular, how calcium ions and protons interact to regulate neuronal excitability and what happens under pathophysiological conditions like epilepsy.
In 2006, I moved to Germany and with this big change also shifted to working on the other, usually ignored, cell type in the brain – glia. In Prof. Christine Rose’s lab in Düsseldorf, I investigated how ion fluxes affect a type of glial cell called astrocytes, and how changes to astrocytes would influence neuronal excitability.
I am currently with Prof. Heinz Beck at the Institute of Experimental Epileptology & Cognition in Bonn. We use advanced two-photon imaging and glutamate uncaging techniques combined with patch-clamp recordings to probe the excitability of neurones in response to specific patterns of inputs. We pose questions such as, what are the mechanisms by which neurones integrate synaptic inputs to determine an appropriate output? and how does this input-output relationship go awry in epilepsy?