The Neuropharmacology research group investigates the mode of action of psychoactive substance, aiming to understand the physiological consequences of drug consumption on neuronal cells and circuits, such as synaptic plasticity. Specifically, we investigate the hallucinogenic compound psilocybin, a substance classified as drugs of abuse. Yet, psilocybin may be clinically used for psychiatric disorders, including major depressive disorder. Psilocybin induces hallucinations through its active metabolite psilocin, which acts as serotonin 5-HT2A receptor agonist. We investigate neuronal circuits and synapses that may be persistently changed after a single psilocybin administration, establishing causality to psilocybin’s antidepressant effects. With a translational approach, our research also aims to provide mechanistic rationale for improving treatment strategies with hallucinogens in psychiatric disorders.
Methodology: Our pre-clinically experiments are conducted in mice as model species. We apply optogenetics and whole-cell patch-clamp slice recordings for celltype- and circuit-specific observations and manipulations. We also conduct behavioral tests and perform histological staining.
Prof. Dr. Linda Simmler
Bioparc Rosental (Gebäude 1060)
Tel: +41 61 207 68 48