Laboratory of Systems & Cellular Neuroscience

led by

Prof. Dr. Marlene Bartos

We are interested in understanding how dendritic integration of activity in principal cells and GABAergic interneurons influences microcircuit function and behavior.

Curriculum Vitae



A fundamental and fascinating feature of the mammalian brain is its capacity to acquire and store novel information. Our research is focused on how memory is represented in neuronal networks. We aim to understand the mechanisms underlying the emergence of learning-associated active cell populations (cell assemblies) that represent new memories. We focus on the rodent dentate gyrus (DG), the input region of the hippocampus known to be functionally vital for acquiring new memories in many species, including humans and rodents. Our work has clarified the cellular and synaptic properties of neurons and synapses in the DG circuitry, and mechanisms underlying the synchronization of neuronal networks for the encoding of information. We have investigated the cellular, synaptic and network mechanisms important for the development of neuronal networks, with a focus on GABAergic inhibitory cells.

Our major research topics are:

  1. to understand the spatial and temporal emergence of learning-associated cell assemblies representing new memories.
  2. to delineate the nature and relevance of the major functional (cellular, synaptic, plasticity) and structural changes underlying cell assembly formation.
  3. to understand the functional and dynamic characteristics of synaptic communication among cells and their role in information processing in cortical microcircuits.
  4. to identify the role of the highly varied GABAergic cell population in neuronal network function and cell assembly formation.
  5. to examine the dysfunction of cellular components in specific mouse models underlying neuronal diseases.


Miniscope Imaging

We use Inscopix nVoke systems to image Ca2+ signals at one photon cellular resolution combined with optogenetic stimulation in the same field of view to investigate hippocampal and prefrontal cortex cell activity and circuitry in freely behaving animals.

We aim to understand the longitudinal involvement of cell ensembles in prefrontal cortex and hippocampal subregions during working memory, social memory and spatial coding/discrimination. We want to understand the circuit dynamics of learning, memory consolidation and recall of recent and remote memory, and thus unravel the contribution of different cell types and neuromodulators to the memory representation in the brain.

A genetically-encoded Calcium indicator (green) expressed in Hippocampal area CA2 (scale bar =100 um, red is counterstaining).

A projection of a field of view from a miniscope camera, with fluorescent cell bodies appearing as ovoids in the greyscale image. The brightness is proportional to the cell activity.

2-Photon population imaging videos

Video shows a mouse walking on a syrofoam ball, which controls the navigation through the virtual environment displayed on the computer monitors.
Videos of in vivo 2-photon calcium imaging at three locations in the hippocampus during virtual environment navigation.

Selected Publications