Molecular and Systemic Neurophysiology

  • Decision making in animals navigating in virtual reality
  • Optophysiological dissection of neural circuits of behaviour
  • Technical development in two-photon imaging and optogenetics


New BRAINlab paper out showing that the visual cortex of blind mice still has normal electrophysiological properties.

Halfmann C, Rüland T, Müller F, Jehasse K, Kampa BM (2023) Electrophysiological properties of layer 2/3 pyramidal neurons in the primary visual cortex of a retinitis pigmentosa mouse model (rd10). …


Neural circuits of decision-making in virtual navigation
How do we decide to turn left or right ? Our brain constantly needs to integrate prior experience with current sensory evidence to decide about our next move. This complex behavior involves many brain regions and also many different strategies. To understand the underlying neural circuits it is therefore important to focus on a well-defined task and question. We investigate the neural circuits of decision-making in mice navigating in virtual reality. This allows perfect control over the animal and the sensory input. In previous work we have found that neurons in cortex are assembled in specific sub-networks, which encode complex features of our visual environment. We now focus on how this representation of the visual scenery is used for navigation and decision-making. The approach of our team involves combinations of electrophysiology, two-photon imaging and optogenetics in awake behaving animals.

In this way we record visual responses extending from targeted neuronal subtypes and sub-cellular dendrites to large neuronal populations. These studies are performed in awake behaving mice placed in a virtual reality to explore the role of visual cues in spatial navigation. Finally, the obtained experimental results are incorporated in computational model studies to further test our hypotheses on the neuronal circuits underlying decision-making.

Recording and manipulation of identified neuronal circuits during naturalistic stimulation and behavior is our key to tackle the complex computation in the brain.   We are currently looking for motivated students and post-docs to join our team ! If you are interested, please contact the team leader.


Prof. Björn Kampa

Team Leader
Room:    0.113
Phone:   +49 (0)241 80-24840
Email:    kampa(at)

Dr.. Simon Musall

Team Leader BrainState Lab
Room:    0.111
Phone:   +49 (0)241 80-27779
Email:    musall(at)


Sylvia Steinbeck

Lab Admin
Room:    0.110
Phone:   +49 (0)241 80-26552
Email:    sylvia(at)

Michael Moll

IT Admin
Room:    0.110
Phone:   +49 (0)241 80-20801
Email:    moll(at)

Sandra Brill

Lab Technician
Room:    0.110
Phone:   +49 (0)241 80-20841
Email:    brill(at)

Christopher Wiesbrock

Data manager RTG Multisenses-Multiscales
Room:    0.110
Phone:   +49 (0)241 80-26552
Email:    christopher.wiesbrock(at)

Dr. Gerion Nabbefeld

Room:    0.112
Phone:   +49 (0)241 80-20865
Email:    gerion.nabbefeld(at)

Dr. Thomas Rüland

Room:    0.112
Phone:   +49 (0)241 80-20865
Email:    thomas.rueland(at)

Elisabeta Balla

PhD student
Room:    0.112
Phone:   +49 (0)241 80-20865
Email:    elisabeta.balla(at)

Sacha Abou Rachid

PhD Student
Room:    0.112
Phone:   +49 (0)241 80-20865

Danique Holtrup

Master Student
Room:    0.112
Phone:   +49 (0)241 80-20865

Morten Jakob

Master Student
Room:    0.110
Phone:   +49 (0)241 80-20865

Claas Ullrich

Master Student
Room:    0.110
Phone:   +49 (0)241 80-20865

Julia Baumann

Master Student
Room:    0.110
Phone:   +49 (0)241 80-26552


Jehasse, K., Jouhanneau, JS., Wetz, S. et al. Immediate reuse of patch-clamp pipettes after ultrasonic cleaning. Sci Rep 14, 1660 (2024).

Halfmann C, Rüland T, Müller F, Jehasse K, Kampa BM. 2023. Electrophysiological properties of layer 2/3 pyramidal neurons in the primary visual cortex of a retinitis pigmentosa mouse model (rd10). Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience 17. doi:10.3389/fncel.2023.1258773

Ciganok-Hückels, N., Jehasse, K., Kricsfalussy-Hrabár, L., Ritter, M., Rüland, T., & Kampa, BM. (2022). Postnatal development of electrophysiological and morphological properties in layer 2/3 and layer 5 pyramidal neurons in the mouse primary visual cortex. Cerebral Cortex.

Wiesbrock, C., Musall, S., & Kampa, BM. (2022). A flexible Python-based touchscreen chamber for operant conditioning reveals improved visual perception of cardinal orientations in mice. Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience, 16.

Srikantharajah, K., Medinaceli Quintela, R., Doerenkamp, K., Kampa, BM., Musall, S., Rothermel, M., & Offenhäusser, A. (2021). Minimally-invasive insertion strategy and in vivo evaluation of multi-shank flexible intracortical probes. Scientific reports11(1), 1-11.

Bexter, A., & Kampa, BM. (2022). MazeMaster: an open-source Python-based software package for controlling virtual reality experiments. bioRxiv, 2020-01.

Ganea, D. A., Bexter, A., Guenther, M., Gardères, P. M., Kampa, BM., & Haiss, F. (2020). Pupillary dilations of mice performing a vibrotactile discrimination task reflect task engagement and response confidence. Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience14.

Daniel Pensold, Julia Reichard, Karen M J Van Loo, Natalja Ciganok, Anne Hahn, Cathrin Bayer, Lutz Liebmann, Jonas Groß, Jessica Tittelmeier, Thomas Lingner, Gabriela Salinas-Riester, Judit Symmank, Claas Halfmann, Lourdes González-Bermúdez, Anja Urbach, Julia Gehrmann, Ivan Costa, Tomas Pieler, Christian A Hübner, Hartmut Vatter, Björn Kampa, Albert J Becker, Geraldine Zimmer-Bensch. (2020) DNA Methylation-Mediated Modulation of Endocytosis as Potential Mechanism for Synaptic Function Regulation in Murine Inhibitory Cortical Interneurons, Cerebral Cortex, Volume 30, Issue 7, Pages 3921–3937

Muir DR, Molina-Luna P, Roth MM, Helmchen F, Kampa BM (2017) Specific excitatory connectivity for feature integration in mouse primary visual cortex. PLoS comp. biol. 13 (12), e1005888

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 6: e21589.

Muir DR, Roth MM, Helmchen F & Kampa BM (2015). Model-based analysis of pattern motion processing in mouse primary visual cortex. Frontiers in neural circuits, 9.

Muir DR and Kampa BM (2015) FocusStack and StimServer: a new open source MATLAB toolchain for visual stimulation and analysis of two-photon calcium neuronal imaging data. Front. Neuroinform. 8:85

Bopp R, da Costa N, Kampa BM, Martin KAC, Roth MM (2014) Pyramidal cells make specific connections onto smooth (GABAergic) neurons in mouse visual cortex. PLoS Biol. 2014 Aug 19;12(8):e1001932
(Authors in alphabetical order)

Roth MM, Helmchen F. Kampa BM (2012) Distinct functional properties of primary and posteromedial visual area of mouse neocortex. J Neurosci. 32(28):9716-26.
[Roth 2012 area PM]

Kampa BM, Roth MM, Göbel W, Helmchen F (2011) Representation of visual scenes by local neuronal populations in layer 2/3 of mouse visual cortex. Frontiers in Neural Circuits 5:18
[Kampa 2011 Frontiers]

Kampa BM, Göbel W, Helmchen F. (2011) Measuring neuronal population activity using 3D laser scanning. Cold Spring Harb Protoc. 2011(11):1340-9

Grewe BF, Langer D, Kasper HJ, 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.

Kole MHP, Ilschner SU, Kampa BM, Williams SR, Ruben PC, Stuart GJ (2008) Action potential generation requires a high sodium channel density in the axon initial segment. Nature Neurosci, 11(2):178-86

Göbel W, Kampa BM, Helmchen (2007) Neuronale Netzwerkdynamik in 3D. In: BIOForum 05/2007, pp. 18-19. [Goebel_Kampa_BioForum_2007.pdf]

Göbel W, Kampa BM, Helmchen F (2007) Imaging cellular network dynamics in three dimensions using fast 3D laser scanning. Nature Methods, 4(1):73-9

Kampa BM, Letzkus JJ, Stuart GJ (2006) Cortical feed-forward networks for binding different streams of sensory information. Nature Neurosci, 9(12):1472-3
[Kampa 2006 feedforward]

Letzkus JJ, Kampa BM, Stuart GJ (2006) Learning rules for spike timing-dependent plasticity depend on dendritic synapse location. J Neurosci, 26(41):10420-9

Kampa BM, Stuart GJ (2006) Calcium spikes in basal dendrites of layer 5 pyramidal neurons during action potential bursts. J Neurosci, 26(28):7424-32

Kampa BM, Letzkus JJ, Stuart GJ (2006) Requirement of dendritic calcium spikes for induction of spike-timing-dependent synaptic plasticity. J Physiol, 574(1):283-90

Kampa BM, Clements J, Jonas P, Stuart GJ (2004) Kinetics of Mg2+ unblock of NMDA receptors: implications for spike-timing dependent synaptic plasticity. J Physiol, 556(2):337-45


Froemke RC, Letzkus JJ, Kampa BM, Hang GB, Stuart GJ (2010) Dendritic synapse location and neocortical spike-timing-dependent plasticity. Front Synaptic Neurosci. 2:29.

Kampa BM, Letzkus JJ, Stuart GJ (2007) Dendritic mechanisms controlling spike-timing-dependent synaptic plasticity. Trends Neurosci, 30(9):456-63.

Letzkus JJ, Kampa BM, Stuart GJ (2007) Does spike timing-dependent synaptic plasticity underlie memory formation? Clin Exp Pharmacol Physiol, 34(10):1070-6.

Gulledge AT *, Kampa BM *, Stuart GJ (2005) Synaptic integration in dendritic trees.
J Neurobiol, 64(1):75-90. *equal contribution

Book Chapters

Grewe B, Helmchen F, Kampa BM (2012) Two-Photon Imaging of Neuronal Network Dynamics in Neocortex. In: Optical Imaging of Cortical Dynamics. Springer Press.

Kampa BM, Göbel W, Helmchen F (2011) Three-Dimensional Imaging of Neuronal Network Activity. In: Imaging in Neuroscience: A Laboratory Manual. CSHL Press.

Göbel W, Kampa BM, Helmchen F (2009) In Vivo Imaging of Cellular Network Signaling. In: Handbook of Cell Signaling. 2nd ed. Academic Press.