Molecular and Cellular Mechanisms of Neural Homeostasis

Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Amparo Acker-Palmer, Speaker of CRC 1080

Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Amparo Acker-Palmer, Speaker of CRC1080 (Photo: SFB 1080)

The human brain is an organ so complex that it is almost unimaginable. Exploring its structure and function is one of science’s greatest challenges. Approximately 100 billion nerve cells are connected to each other by roughly 100 trillion synapses (100 x 1000 billion) and together they transmit information to the other cells. The better the understanding of scientists as to which brain areas control which functions, the better they are able to influence them. In some cases of nervous system disease, areas of the brain are damaged and, if the cause is known, such an investigation could help to repair the damage.

The researchers participating in the Collaborative Research Center 1080 are confident about gaining new insights into molecular and cellular mechanisms of nervous system function. They are investigating the interactions that enable the brain to maintain a balanced functional state – the network homeostasis. Flexible homeostatic adaptation is critical for nervous system stability and helps the brain to face the constant flow of input from an ever-changing environment.

Researchers involved in the Collaborative Research Center are investigating fundamental molecular-cellular, circuit- and systems-level processes that enable the nervous system to maintain the functionality, adaptability and flexibility of its network components during development and in the adult life. The research findings will contribute to a better understanding of brain disease processes and could lead to the development of new therapies.

In addition to various research institutions from the Goethe University Frankfurt, this Collaborative Research Center also includes research groups from the University Medical Center Mainz, the Institute of Molecular Biology in Mainz and the Max Planck Institute for Brain Research in Frankfurt.