After finishing my BSc in biology (honors in neuroscience) at the University of Edinburgh and my MSc in neuroscience at the Ludwig-Maximilians University in Munich I joined Jozsef Csicsvari’s group at IST Austria.
Being part of IN-SENS, my PhD project’s aim is to perform in vivo electrophysiology in a rat model of chronic mental illness that overexpresses human DISC1, a gene that has been strongly linked to schizophrenia. With multi-channel extracellular recordings it is possible to record the activity of many neurons in the behaving animal. This method will allow us to investigate whether DISC1 overexpression leads to changes in brain network activity, but also whether the behavior of single neurons is affected. Thereby, we will primarily focus on the hippocampus, a brain area implicated in learning and memory and involved in schizophrenia. To tease out specific brain functional deficits appropriate behavioral tasks have to be designed. Finally, complex computer analysis techniques will be employed to process the large volume of electrophysiological data.