Jens C. Rekling Group – University of Copenhagen

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Motor Control > Research > Jens C. Rekling Group

Jens C. Rekling Group

Research

The aim of the research is to understand how neurons in small assemblies interact to produce sensory and motor functions in the brain. A variety of electrophysiological and optical techniques are used to study living neurons in preparations of nervous tissue that maintain functional sensori-motor systems under in vitro conditions. We seek to answer fundamental questions such as: What neural microcircuit mechanisms in the brainstem are involved in generating breathing movements? How do sensory and motor systems produce precision movements? What developmental processes are involved in specifying functional microcircuits? Ultimately we wish to contribute to an understanding of how brain function emerges from network interactions between individual neurons.

Openings, student projects

We are currently looking for students interested in doing their Bachelor, Master, or PhD project in our group. We will actively support the application of suitable students for scholarships from various sources. The projects might include both electrophysiological, optical and molecular biology techniques. If you are interested in becoming a member of our team, please contact:
Jens C. Rekling
email: jrekling@sund.ku.dk
phone: +45 31 52 65 40

Recent results

Phillips WS, Herly M, Del Negro CA, Rekling JC. Organotypic slice cultures containing the prebötzinger complex generate respiratory-like rhythms. J Neurophysiol. 2016 Feb 1;115(2):1063-70. doi: 10.1152/jn.00904.2015. Epub  2015 Dec 9.

Here, we developed an organotypic slice culture preparation containing the preBötzinger complex, the core inspiratory rhythm generator of the ventrolateral brainstem. Using calcium-sensitive fluorescent dyes spontaneous  synchronous network oscillations can be measured in both  the preBötzinger complex and dorsomedial regions of 7-43 days in vitro slice cultures. These calcium oscillations appear to be driven by periodic bursts of inspiratory neuronal activity, because whole-cell recordings from ventrolateral neurons in culture revealed inspiratory-like drive potentials and no oscillatory activity was detected from glial fibrillary associated protein (GFAP)-expressing astrocytes in cultures. We conclude that preBötC-containing slice cultures retain inspiratory-like rhythmic function and therefore may facilitate lines of experimentation that involve extended incubation (e.g., genetic transfection or chronic drug exposure) while simultaneously being amenable to imaging and electrophysiology at cellular, synaptic, and network levels.

Collaborations

Christopher A. Del Negro, Ph.D., Associate Professor and Chair, Department of Applied Science, The College of William & Mary, Williamsburg, USA