EN DE

Johannes Letzkus, Ph.D.

Max Planck Research Group Leader

Contact

Max Planck Institute for Brain Research

Max-von-Laue-Str. 4
60438 Frankfurt/Main

+49 (0) 69 850033 1430

CRC 1193 PROJECTS

Expertise

Electrophysiology, Optogenetics, Behavior

Despite decades of intense research, we still only have a very limited understanding of how even the most investigated brain areas such as primary visual and auditory cortex function. While the structure of these circuits has been described in detail, and sensory physiology experiments have defined important features of stimulus processing such as orientation selectivity and tonotopy, what is currently still lacking is a dissection of how the behavioral requirements of the animal shape these computations on a moment to moment basis. Recent results from us (Letzkus et al., 2011; Wolff et al., 2014) and other labs have shown that these non-sensory signals can strongly affect the computations of circuits in behaving animals. In my lab, we use a combination cell-type specific recording (in vivo 2-photon imaging and electrophysiology) and optogenetic perturbation approaches during learning and attention paradigms to determine mechanistically how the same sensory stimuli are processed in different ways depending on their relevance for instructing the animals’ behavior.

Vita

Since 09/2013

Max-Planck Research Group Leader, MPI for Brain Research, Frankfurt, Germany

12/2010 – 08/2013

Independent Investigator, Friedrich Miescher Institute for Biomedical Research, Basel, Switzerland

11/2007 – 11/2010

Postdoctoral Fellow, Friedrich Miescher Institute for Biomedical Research, Basel, Switzerland

3/2004 – 09/2007

Neuroscience Ph.D., John Curtin School of Medical Research, Australian National University, Canberra, Australia

10/1997 – 02/2002

Biology Major, University of Mainz, Germany


Publications

Letzkus JJ, Wolff SBE, Lüthi A (2015) Disinhibition, a circuit mechanism for associative learning and memory. Neuron 88:264-76.

>> Link to PubMed

Wolff SBE, Gründemann J, Tovote P, Krabbe S, Jacobson GA, Müller C, Herry C, Ehrlich I, Friedrich RW, Letzkus JJ, Lüthi A (2014) Amygdala interneuron subtypes control fear learning through disinhibition. Nature 509(7501):453-8.

>> Link to PubMed

Letzkus JJ, Wolff SBE, Meyer EMM, Tovote P, Courtin J, Herr C, Lüthi A (2011) A disinhibitory microcircuit for associative fear learning in auditory cortex. Nature 480:331-5.

>> Link to PubMed

Kole MH*, Letzkus JJ*, Stuart GJ (2007) Axon initial segment Kv1 channels control axonal action potential waveform and synaptic efficacy. Neuron 55:633-47. *equal contribution

>> Link to PubMed

Letzkus JJ, Kampa BM, Stuart GJ (2006) Learning rules for spike timing-dependent plasticity depend on dendritic synapse location. J Neurosci 26; 10420-29.

>> Link to PubMed

Editorial and Scientific Advisory Board

Journal Reviewer / Editor:

Cerebral Cortex, Frontiers in Neural Circuits, Frontiers in Synaptic Neuroscience, Hippocampus, Journal of Neurophysiology, Journal of Neuroscience, Nature Neuroscience, Neural Plasticity, Neuron, Neuroscience Letters, PLOS ONE, Science, Scientific Reports

Boehringer Ingelheim Fonds, European Research Council, HFSP, Humboldt Foundation, Israel Science Foundation, Leibniz Association, MQ grants, Swedish Research Council, Swiss National Science Foundation, Vienna Science & Technol. Fund, Wellcome Trust

Awards, Grants and Honor

2016

Minna James Heineman Foundation Grant

2016

Human Frontier Science Program Fellowship

2013

ERC Starting Grant

2013

Pfizer Prize

2013

Boehringer Ingelheim Fonds fellowship

2012

University Prize from the Adrian and Simone Frutiger Foundation

2010

Ambizione Grant, Swiss National Science Foundation

2009

Frank Fenner PhD Medal

2009

Paxinos-Watson Paper Prize

2008

Marie Curie Postdoctoral Fellowship

2002

Diploma in Biology with Distinction

Memberships

Since 2014

Member of the FENS-Kavli Network of Excellence  

Since 2011

Swiss Society for Neuroscience

Since 2009

Society for Neuroscience

Since 2000

German Brain Research Organization