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    Viikinkaari 1, Biocenter 3

    00014 University of Helsinki

    Finland

Organization profile

The complexity of the neuronal connections is formed during development under the guidance of both genetic and environmental factors. The interplay between genetic blueprint and neuronal activity results in formation of synaptic connections pattern, unique for each individual. Genetic or environmental alterations in this process may push developing network towards pathological attractor state, leading to progression of a neurodevelopmental disorder. This hypothesis may explain similar phenotypic manifestations of various genetic mutations in case of neurodevelopmental disorders, such as autism spectrum disorder, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, intellectual disability etc.

In our work, we aim to reveal the developmental correlates of altered brain function in psychiatric disorders with motor behavior and attention deficiency. Many neurodevelopmental disorders, i.e. autism spectrum disorder, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder, are accompanied by pathologies in motor behavior, including uncoordinated movements and repetitive actions. The main brain structure responsible for the motor learning and habit formation is striatum. We study the formation of synaptic connections in striatum during early postnatal ontogenesis in healthy organism and in animal models of neurodevelopmental disorders. In our experiments, we use a number of transgenic mouse lines for both ablation of the genes of interest and expression of reporter proteins in specified neuronal populations. Our methods include in vitro electrophysiology, immunocytochemistry and behavioral tests.

Fields of Science

  • 1184 Genetics, developmental biology, physiology
  • neuroscience
  • synaptic plasticity
  • Neurodevelopment
  • whole-cell patch-clamp
  • electrophysiology
  • striatum
  • basal ganglia
  • neurodevelopmental disorders

International and National Collaboration

Publications and projects within past five years.