Connecting European Neuroscience

Fritjof Helmchen

Programme Committee Chair FENS Forum 2020

Curriculum Vitae

1994-1996 Ph. D. thesis, Dept. of Cell Physiology, MPI for Medical Research, Heidelberg, Germany

1997-2000 Postdoc, Biological Computation Research Department, Bell Laboratories, Lucent Technologies, New Jersey, USA

2000-2005 Research group leader, Dept. of Cell Physiology, MPI for Medical Research, Heidelberg, Germany

2005-2013 Associate Professor for Neurophysiology, Brain Research Institute, University of Zurich, Switzerland 2011 Double Professorship, Medical Faculty and Science Faculty, University of Zurichm Switzerland

2013 Full Professor of Neuroscience, University of Zurichm Switzerland. 

Honours and awards

2015 Cloëtta Prize

2015 ERC Advanced Grant

2011 Pfizer Research Prize (with Dr. B. Grewe)

2003 Emil Du Bois-Reymond Prize of the German Physiological Society

1998-2000 Human Frontiers Science Program (HFSP) postdoctoral fellowship

1997-1998 Max-Planck-Society postdoctoral fellowship

1997 Otto-Hahn-Medal of the Max-Planck-Society. 

General administrative and organisational experience

- Organizer/Co-orgaizer of 5 international conferences, 6 summer courses (Cold Spring Harbor, EMBO), and 5 Conference Symposia

- participation in the annual Zurich BrainFair (Brain Awareness Week)

- regular public lectures and events for the lay audience

2016-now Director, Neuroscience Center Zurich 2016-now Member of the Foundation Board, Prof. Max Cloetta Foundation

2014-2016 Co-Director, Neuroscience Center Zurich

2011-2015 Acting Director, Brain Research Institute (rotation)

2011-now Member Steering Committee, Neuroscience Center Zurich

2009 Member of the Foundation Board "Betty and David Koester Foundation for Brain Research" (President since 2010)

2008-2010 Vorsitzender Fachbereich Grundlagenfächer, Medical Faculty, UZH

2008-now Member Scientific Advisory Board, Werner-Reichardt-Centrum for Integrative Neuroscience (CIN), Tübingen. 

Research interests

My general research interest is to reveal principles of neural computation on the cellular and network level. My lab has especially contributed to advances in the field of in vivo two-photon microscopy for the study of neuronal and glial function in vivo, for example to characterize dendritic Ca2+ signaling in neocortical pyramidal cells in vivo and more recently tp apply genetically-encoded calcium indicators for longitudinal functional imaging studies as well as for imaging neuronal population dynamics in awake, behaving mice. Currently, my lab is further expanding studies of behaviour-related neural dynamics in various brain regions, including hippocampus, using new microscopy concepts, genetically encoded sensors, and optogenetic and chemogenetic tools to monitor and manipulate specific neuronal populations. Our goal is to gain a mechanistic understanding of signal flow on the mesoscale, building a link between local microcircuit operation and large-scale brain dynamics. 

Selected publications

1. Gilad A, Gallero-Salas Y, Groos D, Helmchen F (2018). Behavioral Strategy Determines Frontal or Posterior Location of Short-Term Memory in Neocortex. Neuron, 99(4):814-828 

2. Bethge P*, Carta S*, Lorenzo DA, Egolf L, Goniotaki D, Madisen L, Voigt FF, Chen JL, Schneider B, Ohkura M, Nakai J, Zeng H, Aguzzi A, Helmchen F (2017) An R-CaMP1.07 reporter mouse for cell-type-specific expression of a sensitive red fluorescent calcium indicator. PLOS ONE 12(6): e0179460.

3. Keller AJ, Houlton R, Kampa BM, Lesica NA, Mrsic-Flogel TD, Keller GB, Helmchen F (2017) Stimulus relevance modulates contrast adaptation in visual cortex. Elife, pii: e21589

4. Chen JL*, Voigt FF*, Javadzadeh M, Krueppel R, Helmchen F (2016) Long-range population dynamics of anatomically defined neocortical networks. Elife, pii: e14679. (* equal contribution)

5. Pilz GA*, Carta S*, Stäuble A, Ayaz A, Jessberger S**, Helmchen F** (2016) Functional imaging of dentate granule cells in the adult mouse hippocampus. Journal of Neuroscience, 36(28), 7407-7414. 

6. Chen JL, Margolis DJ, Stankov A, Sumanovski LT, Schneider BL, Helmchen F (2015) Pathway-specific reorganization of projection neurons in somatosensory cortex during learning. Nature Neuroscience, 18(8):1101-1108.

7. Chen JL, Carta S, Soldado-Magraner J, Schneider BL, Helmchen F (2013) Behavior-dependent recruitment of long-range projection neurons in somatosensory cortex. Nature, 499:336-340

8. Margolis* DJ, Lütcke* H, Schulz K, Haiss F, Weber B, Kügler S, Hasan MT, Helmchen F (2012) Reorganization of cortical population activity imaged throughout long-term sensory deprivation. Nature Neuroscience, 15(11):1539-1546. 

9. Schulz, K, Sydekum E, Krueppel R, Engelbrecht CJ, Schlegel F, Schröter A, Rudin M, Helmchen F (2012) Simultaneous BOLD fMRI and fiber-optic calcium recording in rat neocortex. Nature Methods, 9:597–602.

10. Grewe B, Langer D, Kasper H, Kampa BM, Helmchen F (2010) High-speed in vivo calcium imaging reveals spike trains in neuronal networks with near-millisecond precision. Nature Methods 7(5): 399-405.

11. Nimmerjahn A, Kirchhoff F, Helmchen F (2005) Resting microglial cells are highly dynamic surveillants of brain parenchyma in vivo. Science 308:1314-1318. 

12. Nimmerjahn A, Kirchhoff F, Kerr NDJ, Helmchen F (2004) Sulforhodamine 101 as a specific marker of astroglia in the neocortex in vivo. Nature Methods 1(1): 31-37.

Fritjof Helmchen

Professor of Neuroscience
Laboratory of Neural Circuit Dynamics
Brain Research Institute
University of Zurich
Winterthurerstrasse 190
8057 Zurich