I am interested in understanding how structural and morphological features of a neuron, synapse or a neuronal circuit set constraints on the functional and physiological properties of the nervous system.
The structure of a single cell defines its physiological properties, but the connectivity of such a cell defines to what extent those properties are used. Much like genetic information sets the potential capabilities of the organism and epigenetic factors direct the extent to which such potential is realized.
Research Project in the lab:
My aim is to understand the functional characteristics of single cells of the ventral nucleus of the trapezoid body (VNTB) - a prospective inhibitory nucleus - in the auditory brain stem. I work on both genetically modified mice and wild type gerbils. The goal of the project is to associate specific functional characteristics of the single cell with the demands of the inhibitory circuit which the cell is part of. This in turn will allow us to infer the potential capabilities of the inhibition and thus lead to an understanding of the importance of the inhibitory circuit for the functioning of MNTB. In my study I use in vitro electrophysiology as well as fixed tissue confocal and light microscope imaging.
I am also interested in understanding the function that the medial nucleus of the trapezoid body (MNTB) plays in auditory processing. To answer this question we aim to modulate the MNTB function and observe behavioral responses of freely moving animals during an auditory task. We are developing an optogenetic approach as a main method of the MNTB manipulation.
Postdoctoral Fellow, Physiology and Biophysics, University of Colorado Denver / CO, USA with Dr. Achim Klug
Postdoctoral Fellow, Anatomy Cell Physiology, Heidelberg University / Germany with Dr. Thomas Kuner
PhD, Cell Physiology, Max Planck Institute for Med. Research / Germany with Prof. Bert Sakmann and Dr. Thomas Kuner
MA, Neuroethology/Biology, Wesleyan University / CT, USA
MS, Environmental Biology, Warsaw University/ Poland
Honors / Awards:
- Warsaw University, Warsaw, Poland (stipend awarded for excellence in academic performance in years 1997-98).
- Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT (full scholarship providing total cost of education & salary for duration of graduate studies).
- Professional Development Award, Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT (provided cost of SfN conferences in years 2000 and 2001)
- Max Planck Institute for Medical Research, Heidelberg, Germany (full stipend providing total cost of education & salary for duration of PhD work).
- Professional Development Award, Max Planck Institute for Medical Research, Heidelberg, Germany (provided costs of SfN conference in year 2007)
Dondzillo A, Satzler K, Horstmann H, Altrock WD, Gundelfinger ED, Kuner T (2010) Targeted three-dimensional immunohistochemistry reveals localization of presynaptic proteins Bassoon and Piccolo in the rat calyx of Held before and after the onset of hearing. J Comp Neurol 518:1008-1029.
Sun JY, Wu XS, Wu W, Jin SX, Dondzillo A, Wu LG (2004) Capacitance measurements at the calyx of Held in the medial nucleus of the trapezoid body. J Neurosci Methods 134:121-131.