Optophysiology Lab

led by Prof. Ilka Diester

Our Research

The ability to move is a fundamental feature of most animals which allows them to actively interact with our environment. We are investigating the underlying neural mechanisms and circuits of this ability. We do so with electrophysiological recordings and optogenetic manipulations combined with behavioral analysis. We look into the local processing of movement preparation and generation in the motor cortex as well as higher order structures, e.g. prefrontal cortex.

The goal is to create a better understanding of how neural subpopulations and pathways within and across brain areas influence motor behavior. In order to address these scientific aims we are constantly working on improving the existing techniques. We currently focus on the design of new optoelectronic probes and targeting strategies. Apart from advancing our basic knowledge about the neural mechanisms of movements, our results might help improving the design of new prosthetic devices and understanding of disorders in which the normal production of movements is disrupted.

Current News

New Article Published in Neuron

How do brains—biological or artificial—respond and adapt to an ever-changing environment? In a recent meeting, experts from various fields of neuroscience and artificial intelligence met to discuss internal world models in brains and machines, arguing for an interdisciplinary approach to gain deeper insights into the underlying mechanisms.

June 21, 2024: Farewell Party

Dear Brice, it was a pleasure working with you. Thank you for your time and dedication while you worked in our team. All the best for your next step.
“Brice, Brice, au revoir”

February 9, 2024: Are Clownfish able to Count?

Clownfish can apparently count – this is the conclusion drawn by Japanese researchers from an experiment they conducted on the territorial behavior of the animals. Is this really true? “The researchers are jumping to conclusions,” says Prof. Dr. Ilka Diester.

Open Positions

Internal World Models: How does AI view the world
Merry Christmas from the Robot Learning Lab – 2023
FreiDOG Dance @ BrainWorlds Freiburg-Oxford Workshop
IMBIT Opening
Make thinking visible
Research Unit 5159

Literature highlight of last week: Chini et al. find that skewed distributions of anatomical and functional parameters, such as firing rates and synaptic weights, are already configured during development, hence are less likely to be experience dependent.

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