MCNE is established from strategic convergence of the interests of world-class researchers, active in the domains of electrophysiology, neurobiology, biophysics, and cellular excitability. It addresses fundamental and applied research questions in Neurobiology and Cellular Excitability, with a unique point of advantage: the experimental approaches and the theoretical descriptions span across multiple levels of organisation of excitable biological systems, namely from ion channels to networks and micro-circuits.
Among the most fascinating achievements of natural evolution, the excitable biological systems – such as the nervous and cardiac system – make a surprising use of regulated flows of electrically charged ions across the plasma membrane of cells, to transduce a variety of sensory information, to underlie information processing in cognition and memory and to generate muscle contractility determining behaviour. All of these occur as emerging phenomena, resulting from the electrical interactions of cells and of circuits of cells.
While bridging the gaps between molecules, cells, and networks represents the cutting edge of today's Neuroscience and System Biology research, it is pivotal for advancing pharmacological, biotechnological, and prosthesical approaches in biomedicine for the treatment of serious diseases with world-wide alarming increasing incidence in our rapidly aging population.
MCNE's research interests converge on two major themes of fundamental research in Neuroscience and Cellular Excitability, which are intimately interleaved in a "loop": 1) how emergent network complex activity arise from cellular properties and 2) how emergent cellular complex activity arise from ion channel properties. Besides these two scientific priorities, the lab has also a prominent neurotechnological priority that is focused on 3) nanomaterials and novel methods of cellular interfacing biological tissue with artificial devices – including Optogenetics – whose societal impact is of great importance in terms of relevance for future prosthetics.