Dr. Torfi Sigurdsson

"Neuronal Network in Osychiatric Disease: Insights from Animal Models"

Dr. Torfi Sigurdsson from the Institute of Neurophysiology of the University of Frankfurt (Germany) continued with a lecture on "Neuronal Network Dysfunction in Psychiatric Disease: Insights from Animal Models". He used transgenic mice which over-express the dopamine D2 receptor as an animal model of schizophrenia. Advanced electrophysiological and computational methods allowed him to study the synchronization of electrical activity between different brain regions while they engage in a cognitive task. He focused on synchronous 4 Hz oscillations between the prefrontal cortex (PFC) and the ventral tegmental area (VTA) which are known to coordinate neuronal activity during cognitive performance. Combining behavioral experiments with parallel recordings from PFC and VTA, he found a characteristic desynchronization of 4 Hz oscillations in the transgenic mice which would account for their behavioral deficits in a working memory task.