We investigate the influence of neuronal structure on healthy and pathological brain function. Two broad research questions are addressed. Firstly, how can we quantify and model morphological diversity and variance in healthy and pathological neurons? Secondly, how are computations implemented by the complex and beautiful neuronal dendritic structures?
Our overall research interest is in how neuronal dynamics emerge from single neurons and their properties: dendrite morphology and membrane composition, and, the spatio-temporal input pattern impinging on the dendrites.
One major theme in the Dendrites.club is to break with the current single-neuron research paradigm: the paradigm of studying neurons in isolation and with selected, static inputs. We try to study morphology from a developmental point of view where a neuron is the manifestation of both intracellular (i.e., genetic) signals and extra-cellular interactions between developing neurons and their environment. Computations are studied in the light of massive numbers of highly, dynamic (and unreliable) synapses.
We adopt a mainly computational approach. That is, we build models in accordance to a hypothesis we want to investigate and then numerically simulate those models to gain insights into the conjured hypothesis. As these models are not off-the-shelf pieces of software, we often write our own simulation and analysis software. Hence, neuroinformatics is another pillar in our research.