Physiology combines various natural science subjects to study the vital activity of the whole organism and individual systems, organs, cells and cellular structures. Physiology, together with anatomy and histology, thus provides us with the theoretical basis for understanding how our body functions and how it adapts to environmental influences.
Physiology is the science of life. Key to understanding physiology is investigating fundamental processes such as homeostatic mechanisms and communication between cells. In nerve cells, such communication occurs through synapses, small structures located along neuronal processes connecting two cells. By these connections, individual cells become integrated into a huge network, the human brain.
In our laboratory, we study how these synapses, the connections between nerve cells, form in order to understand why a correct assembly of these structures is critical for brain functions such as learning and memory formation. In this context, we particularly focus on the regulation of a key second messenger in these processes, namely Calcium. Our studies thus help us understanding how nerve cells establish such a highly complex organ as the brain and thereby provide insights into the mechanisms underlying neurological disorders such as autism, schizophrenia and Parkinson’s disease.