Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

About the PNAS Member Editor
Name Bonhoeffer, Tobias
Location Max Planck Institute of Neurobiology
Primary Field Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
Secondary Field Systems Neuroscience
 Election Citation
Bonhoeffer has advanced neuroscience through research on synaptic plasticity, elucidating structural and functional changes in synaptic connections in behavioral contexts.
 Research Interests
Tobias Bonhoeffer's lab investigates the phenomenon of synaptic plasticity at a number of different levels, ranging from molecular approaches to studies of the intact nervous system. Results from his lab have shown that synaptic plasticity is accompanied by structural changes of dendritic spines, they have demonstrated that these structural changes are the reason why re-learning of information acquired early in life is comparatively easy, and they have revealed in how far the detailed structure of functional maps in the visual cortex is due to experience in the outside world. Currently the lab is expanding these results mainly obtained in vitro or in anesthetized preparations. This is done by studying synaptic plasticity and the accompanying structural and functional changes in behavioral contexts. The lab is employing virtual reality approaches as well as miniaturized one- and two-photon microscopes on behaving animals and is studying category learning, prey capture, and other natural behaviors. ~Another focus of the lab is to investigate how the antagonistic principles of plasticity and stability of neural circuits can coexist in the brain and how these two opposing forces are reflected in the rules that govern the changes of neural connections.

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