Anna Karynna A. A. Rocha

Our group studies how the central nervous system forms. We study phenomena, at the tissue, cell and molecular levels that take a group of cells in the embryo to organize into a complex brain and spinal cord. It also interests us to understand how the environment shapes the final product and generate diseases.

Our group works with circuit analysis using electrophysiology and imaging. We basically employ all the 'flavours' of patch-clamp techniques (see publications), dynamic clamp and brain modelling (from single neurons to complex networks). Regarding imaging, we work with Ca2+, Na+ and voltage imaging using dyes and we recently started to express genetically encoded voltage and Ca2+ sensors in neurons. Our group's main research topic is the study of the transfer function implemented by neurons and networks of neurons with a particular focus on the contribution of oscillations in neuronal coding in the hippocampus. Our current activities include the development of a system capable to acquire and analyse field oscillations in hippocampal slices in real time. Analysed signals are then used to modulate the firing of an artificial neuron connected to a real pyramidal cell in a closed loop configuration.