Former Research Group Heinemann - Physiology and Pathophysiology of the hippocampal formation

In loving memory of Uwe Heinemann † 2016


Research focus

  • General anaesthesia is required for surgical interventions or during treatment on intensive care units. Our principal aim is to understand possible pathophysiological mechanisms concerning neurological disorders related to anesthesia. We therefore investigate the effects of anesthetics on neuronal oscillations, neurotransmission, ion homeostasis and neuronal metabolism.
  • Blood-brain barrier dysfunction – a state of abnormal trafficking from blood to brain and vice versa – is common in patients suffering from stroke, traumatic brain injury, epilepsy, brain tumors or vascular dementia and likely influences their outcome. We induce increased BBB permeability using the neocortical photothrombosis model and investigate the role of network dysfunction, namely seizures and spreading depolarizations on tissue viability and BBB integrity.
  • Different oscillatory rhythms of the brain mediate different functions of the brain. Sharp wave ripples (SPW-Rs) in area CA3 and CA1 of the rat hippocampus occur during immobility, consummatory behavior and slow-wave sleep and play a critical role in memory consolidation. In acute rat brain slices, SPW-Rs occur together with dentate waves (DWs) of the dentate gyrus and the hilus. We investigate how neuronal ensembles can create, maintain, and modulate these rhythms.
  • Neurometabolic coupling: Energy metabolism and neural activity are tightly coupled processes. Metabolic substrates can alter neuronal activity by modulating different signaling pathways. This makes them alternative therapeutic targets for conditions like seizure disorders. Apart from glucose, the brain can utilize alternative energy substrates such aslactate, ketone bodies, glutamate etc. Lactate, once considered a mere glycolytic byproduct, has been shown to alter neuronal activity through a Gprotein coupled receptor (GP81). Hence, we investigate the role of intrinsic lactate for neuronal metabolism, synaptic transmission, ionic homeostasis and pathological network activity in acute rat slices and neocortical slices from patients with temporal lobe epilepsy.


  • Simultaneous recordings of intra- and extracellular potentials, ion concentrations and partial oxygen pressurein acute brain slices and in-vivo in anesthetized animals under controlled ventilation (CO2-Monitoring) and monitored cardiovascular system
  • Imaging of FAD, NAD(P)H and intracellular Calcium
  • In vivo imaging to assess vascular reactivity, BBB-permeability and cell viability


  • BIH, Neurocure, DFG HE 1128, DESIRE FP7 funded project (Grant Agreement no: 602531)


Dr. Karl Schoknecht

Dr. Agustin Liotta (Klinik für Anästhesie mit Schwerpunkt operative Intensivmedizin, Charité)

Tanja Specowius


PhD students:

Marlene Piepgras 

Eskedar Ayele Angamo 



Dr. med. Christoph J. Behrens

Dr. med. Sigrun Gabriel 

Dr. rer. nat. Hans-Jürgen Gabriel 

Prof. Dr. med. Oliver Kann

Dr. Anne Boehlen 

Dr. Gürsel Caliskan 

Dr. Silvia Fano 

Dr. Rizwan Ul Haq 

Dipl. Biol. Jan Oliver Hollnagel

Dr. Sebastian Ivens

Dr. Simon Kim

Dr. Ezequiel Lapilover

Dr. Kristina Lippmann

Dr. Anna Maslarova

Julia Nichtweiß 

Dipl. Biol. Anton Rösler 

Dr. Seda Salar

Bifeng Wu

Dr. Nora Sandow  

Dr. Anna Wójtowicz

Dipl. Ing. Karin Berlin 

Prof. Dr. med. Klaus Albus (Guest scientist)

Prof. Dr. Alon Friedman MD PhD (Guest scientist)


Opens external link in current windowRG Kovacs

Opens external link in current windowProf. Jens Dreier, Center for Stroke Research, Berlin

Opens external link in current windowAlon Friedman, Professor of Neuroscience
Dennis Chair in Epilepsy Research    
Departments of Medical Neuroscience and Paediatrics
Faculty of Medicine
Dalhousie University
Halifax, NS

Group Leader

Prof. Dr. med. Uwe Heinemann


Former Director, Vice director, Leader of the group Physiology and Pathophysiology of the Hippocampal Formation

CharitéUniversitätsmedizin Berlin

CCM: Campus Charité Mitte

Charité Center Basic Sciences CC 2

Institute of Neurophysiology

Neuroscience Research Center

Postal address:

Charitéplatz 1

10117 Berlin

Internal address:

Hufelandweg 14, Ebene 01

t: +49 30 450 528 091

f: +49 30 450 528 962



Mrs. Tanja Specowius
t: +49 30 450 528 153
f: +49 30 450 528 962


Publications 2008 - 2009

Some former top publications