iBehave brings together 6 institutions that have made understanding the normal and diseased brain a top priority

Neuroscience is a central focus of research at UoB with a vibrant neuroscience community and a particular focus on applying cutting-edge technology to understand higher brain functions in animals and humans on the cellular and systems level. Leveraging this knowledge and innovative technologies for understanding and treating brain disorders is also one of the major future goals. Accordingly, several translational centers encompassing both research and clinical work have been developed. This focus has led to the establishment of many research groups and new institutes that are devoted to both fundamental and translational neuroscience, e.g., Bonn Center of Neurosciences (BCN). UoB contributes expertise in cutting edge technology to uncover circuit mechanisms of behavior in mice, flies, amphibians and humans. In addition, there is a strong track record in using         advanced techniques to investigate mechanisms of common neurological and psychiatric disorders. UoB provides established key structures for preclinical and clinical translation. UoB medical faculty will contribute the unique expertise of single cell recordings in human brain during presurgical evaluation of epilepsy patients. The UoB faculty of mathematics and natural sciences will contribute key expertise in mathematics and computer science.

Neuroscience is a Research Focus Area at UoC connecting experimentalists, computational neuroscientists, and theoreticians in the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences, the Faculty of Human Sciences, and the Medical Faculty, collaborating with the Research Center Juelich (Juelich), the Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE), and the MaxPlanck Institute for Metabolism Research.

Role: Research focuses on unraveling the complex nervous system performance when an organism interacts with the outside world with special emphasis on the motor system, the metabolic system, and the immune system. Elucidating mechanisms mediating state-dependency and assuring optimal performance in health and neurological diseases are central research goals. Within iBehave, UoC researchers will contribute key expertise in cutting-edge research in a variety of animal models, notably various insect species and mice, and healthy humans and patients suffering from neurological and psychiatric diseases, combined with advanced behavior and neural circuit analysis techniques.

Neurobiology is one of two key research areas within the Biology Department, and clinical neuroscience is one of four major foci of research within the medical faculty. Both institutions defined neurobiology as priorities, and neurosciences rank among the RWTH’s key research foci. The university’s institutional strategy is built on several measures, one of which – “strengthening life sciences” – is directly pertinent to iBehave. Researchers at RWTH focus on mouse social & sensory neuroscience and behavior in naturalistic and virtual environments. They apply advanced analytical approaches and technology. Together with colleagues at Juelich, PIs are implementing approaches from computational neuroscience, advanced image analysis and simulation.

Neuroscience and medicine is a large institute at Juelich, which takes a major role in the nation-wide key Helmholtz program “Information”, and Juelich contributes with “Natural, Artificial and Cognitive Information Processing”. Basic research on the brain is being linked to computing approaches such as quantum, neuromorphic and traditional network computation.

The DZNE pursues an integrated research approach which combines basic, clinical, population research as well as patient care. The central and largest DZNE site is located in Bonn, closely linked to UoB and UoC. The core objectives of DZNE research are to understand the causes of and risk factors for neurodegenerative diseases, and to develop new therapeutic and preventive strategies by translating fundamental discoveries into clinical and public health applications. Groups have a strong focus on imaging and cutting-edge technologies in Drosophila, nematodes, mouse, and human. DZNE has a strong emphasis on human and translational studies.

The Max Planck Institute for Neurobiology of Behavior – caesar (MPINB) in Bonn focuses on basic research in neuroethology. International researchers at the institute study how the collective activity of vast numbers of neurons gives rise to the plethora of animal behaviors. The interdisciplinary research spans from imaging neural circuits at the nanoscale to analyzing neural activity in a freely moving and naturally behaving animal. The MPINB works closely with the University of Bonn and other local research institutes to train the next generation of young scientists in a joint graduate school.