How does the immune system influence our mood? Why are people with inflammatory conditions or neurodegenerative diseases more prone to develop depression? How does the gut microbiota signal to the brain and alter our mood? These are some of the questions we are trying to answer, in the hope to uncover better treatments of affective disorders and neurodegenerative disease.
Our research evolves around deciphering the neural circuits and immune-to-brain signaling mechanisms involved in regulating affective state during disease. For this we are exploring the function of several brain circuits and neural populations (such as microglia and astrocytes); and are specialized in striato-nigral and mesolimbic connectivity. We are particularly focused on exploring the mechanisms underlying major depressive disorder and Parkinson's Disease, using state-of-the-art neurocircuitry techniques.
Our lab is technically specialized in: in vivo neurocircuitry techniques such as Designer Receptors Exclusively Activated by Designer Drugs (DREADDS) and Optogenetics in combination with various affective, motivational and motoric behaviours; Viral tracing strategies; methods for identifying active neuronal ensembles during specific behaviors; fluorescent immunohistochemistry and confocal microscopy.
We are a young and dynamic team that works hard to find new ways for improving the diagnosis and treatment of affective diseases - We believe want to solve the problems of affective neuroscience.
Starting 2024, the Klawonn group will have projects available in molecular mechanisms of immune-to-brain signaling of affective state and Parkinson’s disease for master students.