Our lab is investigating microglia cells of the brain. These cells form the first line of defense when our brain encounters any pathogen or is out of the homeostatic status due to diverse stressors. Microglia are in close contact to their neighbors like neurons and astrocytes and play a crucial role in maintaining and shaping neuronal networks as well as the generation of new neurons. Thus, they eventually impact animal and human behavior. They come in many different flavours - depending on their location in the brain and on the sex and the age of the individual. We are particularely interested in how microglia are affected in psychiatric disorders like schizophrenia, autism and depression. Therefore we utilize animal models, human samples and data as well as cell culture systems to identify crucial pathways for disease progression as well as novel therapeutic targets.
How do microglia - the intrinsic immune cells of the brain - communicate with the local and peripheral environment. Does the sexual dimorphic microglia state lead to behavioral differences in animal models of psychiatric disorders?