Rui Costas elegant series of experiments of how the brain controls action is focused on the role of the different circuits of the basal ganglia for skilled and habitual movements, and the novel roles of the dopamine system in action. He combines genetic approaches with a very broad methodological repertoire. His labaratory has been at the Champalimaud Centre for the Unknown in Lisbon, but is now moving to Columbia, New York.
Ole Kiehn is known for his detailed studies of mammalian locomotion utilizing a variety of genetic approaches combined with neurophysiological and behavorial techniques to elucidate the spinal networks coordinating locomotion. A recent focus is the brain stem command systems that turn on and stop ongoing locomotor movements. He is now moving a large part of his laboratory from the Karolinska Institute to the University of Copenhagen.
Eleanor Maguire heads the Memory and Space research laboratory at University College London, where she uses whole brain and high resolution structural and functional magnetic resonance imaging in conjunction with neuropsychological examination of patients in order to understand how memories are formed, represented and recollected by the human brain. Her classic study of how the hippocampus changes in London taxi drivers when learning is text book knowledge.
Botond Roska´s laboratory is interested in how neuronal networks compute behaviourally relevant functions and to use the acquired knowledge to understand the mechanism of neurological diseases and to design repair strategies for them. The visual system is in focus at the level of the retina, thalamus and cortex, and combines molecular, viral, and physiological approaches to reveal the structure and function of visual circuits. They have described an inhibitory cell-type-specific neurological disease, and also been able to restore visual function in animal models of retinal degeneration.
Erin Schuman’s group is interested in the cell biological mechanisms within neurons that allow them to store and maintain information. A paradox that drives much of the work in the lab is the fact that synapses, the site of information transfer and storage, are made of unstable elements, proteins. The lab uses nearly all available methods to study the regulation of protein synthesis and degradation – with a focus on imaging, transcriptomics and proteomics. Erin Schuman is a Director at the Max Planck Institute for Brain Research in Frankfurt.