Our research in color

The following graphics are from the institute's research news. You can find more detailed information on the respective topics (in English and German) under the heading "Research / News" or in the news section on the individual department and group websites. If you have questions about the studies, would like to use a picture for another purpose or are looking for a similar graphic, please send us an e-mail.

Die folgenden Bilder stammen aus den Forschungsnachrichten des Instituts. Unter der Rubrik "Aktuelles / News" oder unter den News der einzelnen Abteilungen und Gruppen finden Sie die ausführlicheren Informationen zu den jeweiligen Themen (auf Deutsch und Englisch). Sollten Sie Fragen zu den Studien haben, ein Bild verwenden wollen oder ein ähnliches Bild suchen, schreiben Sie uns bitte eine E-Mail.

 


22. April 2021

Simplifying our world

Mice form categories to simplify their world. Showing that, researchers identified neurons that encode learned categories.
Research from the labs of Tobias Bonhoeffer and Mark Hübener
4. März 2021

In a tight spot

The interaction of two brain regions helps zebrafish decide which predator to flee from.
Research from the lab of Herwig Baier.
10. Februar 2021

Tracing the many paths of vision

The molecular classification of neurons in the zebrafish retina allowed studying individual cell types and linking them to a specific structure, function and behavioral response.
Research from the lab of Herwig Baier
27. Januar 2021

The neuronal basis for decision-making

A newly discovered brain circuit enhances the signals of relevant visual stimuli and suppresses those of unimportant ones.
Research from the lab of Herwig Baier.
23. Dezember 2020

A catalog of neurons

A molecular catalog of neuronal cell types in the zebrafish retina helps to understand how visual stimuli are transformed into behavior.
Research from the lab of Herwig Baier.
15. Dezember 2020

Lighting up proteins

Marked by a new technique, receptor proteins light up in green, revealing their position within motion-processing neurons (magenta).
Research from the lab of Alexander Borst.
24. November 2020

Preventing chronic itch

A subpopulation of spinal inhibitory neurons help to tune out mechanosensory information during movement and thus to prevent self-generated itching.
Research from the lab of Rüdiger Klein
11. November 2020

Seeing the world through two eyes

Researchers characterized several mouse brain areas to understand how the slightly differing images of the two eyes are integrated into one visual percept.
Research from the labs of Mark Hübener and Tobias Bonhoeffer
6. November 2020

Seeing what isn`t real

Staring at the moving stripe pattern elicits the waterfall illusion: Once the movie stops, stationary objects appear to move in the opposite direction. Even tiny zebrafish larvae are susceptible to this illusion, enabling surprising insights into the workings of the brain.
Research from the lab of Herwig Baier
28. Oktober 2020

The protein dress of a neuron

New method marks proteins and reveals the receptors in which neurons are dressed
Research from the lab of Alexander Borst
14. Oktober 2020

Making connections in the amygdala

Neurons from the Insula Cortex connect with motor, physiological, and autonomic output streams in the central amygdala.
Research from the lab of Rüdiger Klein.
13. Oktober 2020

The right cells in the right spot

Neurons in a visual brain area of zebrafish are arranged as a map for catching prey.
Research from the lab of Herwig Baier.
22. September 2020

An illusion as a window into the brain

By triggering the waterfall illusion in zebrafish, researchers identified a subset of neurons that are responsible for seeing motion.
Research from the lab of Herwig Baier.
6. August 2020

Individual differences in the brain

If selection reinforces a behavior, brain activities soon change as well.
Research from the lab of Herwig Baier
22. Mai 2020

Directed protein evolution with CRISPR-Cas9

With the help of CRISPR-Cas9, scientists can now develop proteins that make even difficult components of a mammalian cell visible under the microscope.
Research from the lab of Oliver Griesbeck
7. Mai 2020

Motion patterns instead of pixels

In a complex visual world, animals with very different brains react similar to specific stimuli – revealing similar processing of motion.
Research from the lab of Ruben Portugues.
2. April 2020

The facial expressions of mice

The facial expression of a mouse reveals its feelings, providing a possibility for researchers to study the underlying neuronal mechanisms of emotions.
Research from the lab of Nadine Gogolla
10. Januar 2020

Everything is relative: How flies see the world

The fly brain uses a simple but effective algorithm to calculate movement under varying contrast conditions.
Research from the lab of Alexander Borst
19. Dezember 2019

Artificial intelligence as behavioral analyst

Zebrafish larvae can modulate the movements of their tail continuously. Nevertheless, computer algorithms were able to detect three defined motion patterns.
Research from the lab of Herwig Baier
19. Dezember 2019

Artificial intelligence as behavioral analyst

With the help of artificial intelligence, Max Planck neurobiologists have broken down the hunting behavior of zebrafish larvae into its components.
Research from the lab of Herwig Baier
2. Dezember 2019

Decision-making process becomes visible in the brain

To navigate in a complex environment, the brain needs to integrate relevant sensory information to make behavioral decisions.
Research from the lab of Ruben Portugues
8. Oktober 2019

When cells become cannibals

In order to dissolve a close bond as quickly as possible, cells sometimes nibble a piece off each other's cell membrane. The ephrin ligand in one cell (red) binds with the Eph receptor in a neighboring cell (green). The neighboring cell then devours the relatively large receptor-ligand complex (yellow).
Research from the lab of Ruediger Klein
2. Oktober 2019

Safe on your feet: Sense of touch is more important than expected

Spinal neurons process tactile information. Along with feedback from the brain, these neurons are able to refine the motions of the legs.
Research from the lab of Ruediger Klein
27. August 2019

An island for negative emotions

Neurons in the posterior insular cortex process negative emotions and states and can consequently affect the food intake or exploratory drive of mice.
Research from the lab of Nadine Gogolla
15. August 2019

Brain region for close-up exploration

When mammals look at an object with both eyes, the 3D neurons react to the small deviation in the viewing angle. The cells help three-dimensional vision and depth perception, enabling an animal to calculate distance.
Research from the lab of Tobias Bonhoeffer
15. August 2019

Brain region for close-up exploration

When mice look at nearby objects through 3D glasses, nerve cells in the RL region of their brain become active. The resulting image of the nearby, accessible environment may help to interact with nearby objects or other mice, for example.
Research from the lab of Tobias Bonhoeffer
1. Juli 2019

Interactive zebrafish brain

Neurobiologists publish the first interactive nerve cell atlas for the brain of zebrafish. They want to understand how distinct brain areas coordinate their activity to control behavior.
Research from the lab of Herwig Baier
1. Juli 2019

Live streaming the brain - Neurons in the pretectum calculate space-filling movements

When an image of the environment moves past zebrafish eyes, they react by swimming in the same direction. Neurobiologists in Herwig Baier’s Department have shown which neuronal pathways coordinate this behavior.
Research from the lab of Herwig Baier
21. Juni 2019

Artificial intelligence learns to recognize nerve cells by their appearance

New artificial neuronal networks can now recognize and assign nerve cells independently based on their appearance.
Research from the lab of Winfried Denk
25. April 2019

Multitasking with perfection: Nerve cell works like 1400 individual cells

The amacrine cell CT1 from the Drosophila brain works with its subunits like 1400 individual cells.
Research from the lab of Alexander Borst
25. Januar 2019

Making sense of the cerebellum

Neurobiologists uncovered an organization of the zebrafish cerebellum into three behavioral modules.
Research from the lab of Ruben Portugues
15. Januar 2019

It takes more than a global impression to move a fish

Zebrafish use global as well as local clues to perceive possible drifting. The local detection pathway may use a circuit that also enables the fish to detect predators and escape from them.
Research from the lab of Ruben Portugues
19. Dezember 2018

Should I stay or should I go? Decisions take a straight path through the fish brain

Predator or prey? Neurobiologists demonstrate which nerve cell pathways cause a zebrafish to move towards an object or to flee from it.
Research from the lab of Herwig Baier
6. Dezember 2018

Three nerve cells are sufficient to steer a fly

HS cells in the fly brain respond to large-area horizontal movements of the environment. The cells use these information to slow down the legs either on the right or the left side of the body to initiate a rotational movement.
Research from the lab of Alexander Borst
1. November 2018

How to recognise your own kind

Neurobiologists show in zebrafish that a simple dot, animated in specific way, is sufficient to trigger shoaling.
Research from the lab of Herwig Baier
17. September 2018

Protein for deeper insights into the brain

Aided by a new method, scientists have developed the protein mCarmine, which makes neurons and structures deep in the brain visible under the microscope much more easily.
Research from the lab of Oliver Griesbeck
31. August 2018

Spontaneity in the brain

Ruben Portugues and Michael Orger were awarded a Life? Research Grant of the VW Foundation to investigate how spontaneous behavior arises in the brain.
Research from the lab of Ruben Portugues
19. Juli 2018

LC10 – the neuron that tracks fruit flies

LC10 visual projection neurons are essential to recognize and visually track a female fruit fly during courtship.
Research from the lab of Alexander Borst
16. Juli 2018

Artificial neural networks now able to help reveal a brain’s structure.

Flood-filling network (FFN) neuron reconstructions in a songbird basal ganglia SBEM data set.
Research from the lab of Winfried Denk
Circuit diagram for the spinal cord's gear box' id="gallery_image_39">
5. Juni 2018

Circuit diagram for the spinal cord's gear box

The spinal cord's neuronal network contains the mechanism that enables vertebrates - such as zebrafish - to swim at different speeds. 
Research from the lab of Winfried Denk
14. November 2017

Thalamus helps the cerebrum with learning

When the input signals from the two eyes change, not only the neurons in the visual cortex alter their activity but also the thalamus cells. Hence, contrary to the textbook view, both regions of the brain are plastic.
Research from the lab of Tobias Bonhoeffer
21. August 2017

Brain region mediates pleasure of eating

HTR2a-expressing neurons in the mouse amygdala are active during eating (peaks in the activity) to promote food consumption. (Activity patterns of individual cells are shown in different colours).
Research from the lab of Ruediger Klein
24. Juli 2017

Illuminating neural pathways in the living brain

Researchers can activate individual neurons in the zebrafish brain with light (magenta) and observe which neighboring cells are connected to the neuron in the same circuit (yellow).
Research from the lab of Herwig Baier
12. Juli 2017

Go against the flow

Scientists showed that the lateral line helps zebrafish larvae to detect minute differences in water-flow between their right side and left side. The fish are thus able to prevent drifting off in water flowing with constant velocity.
Research from the lab of Ruben Portugues
17. Mai 2017

Remote control of behaviour by optically activating single neurons

Using a new suite of methods, neurobiologists can activate individual neurons of zebrafish larvae with targeted light beams and then record how the activity spreads through the brain to initiate behaviour.
Research from the lab of Herwig Baier
4. Mai 2017

The formation of folds on the surface of the brain

Without adhesion molecules of the FLRT receptor family, the normally smooth mouse cortex, forms folds, which correspond to the structure of the human brain. The neurons shown in this image are stained to mark the corresponding brain layers – green for the outer layer and red for the deeper layers. The other cells are blue.
Research from the lab of Ruediger Klein
20. April 2017

Live from the cerebellum, the center for sensory-motor integration

The cerebellum has a stereotypical three-layered configuration, which is conserved from fish to mammals. In the larval zebrafish brain (in grey) the granule cell layer (green) sends parallel fibers to the molecular layer, where they contact the dendrites of the Purkinje cells (magenta). Inferior olivary neurons (red) also provide inputs to the Purkinje cells. Scale bar = 100 microns; the head of the fish is oriented towards the top of the image.
Research from the lab of Ruben Portugues
3. April 2017

The more active the fly, the faster its brain works

The fly brain calculates movements from signals transmitted by different types of cells (four, shown here in colour) – and motion detection speeds up once the animals start to move.
Research from the Lab of Alexander Borst
27. Februar 2017

Understanding the brain with the help of artificial intelligence

Neurobiologists aim to decode the brain’s circuitry with the help of artificial neural networks.
Research from the lab of Winfried Denk
6. September 2016

Hungry cells on the move

Ephrins (blue) and Ephs (red) form complexes (yellow) at cell contact points. To enable the cells to separate from each other, they are pulled into one of the cells with the help of the signalling proteins Tiam and Rac.
Research from the lab of Ruediger Klein
9. August 2016

Neuron unites two theoretical models on motion detection

The fly brain recognizes and processes movements very quickly and accurately. Researchers have now combined two theoretical models on how nerve cells compute motion direction from light signals which successively reach adjacent facets of the eye.
Research from the lab of Alexander Borst
19. Juli 2016

Neurons form synapse clusters

The synapses of pyramid cells in the cerebral cortex form functional groups. Some of the related synapses are shown in green in the reconstruction.
Research from the lab of Tobias Bonhoeffer
4. Juli 2016

Cells send out stop signs

Membrane-attached signaling molecules make nerve cell filaments retract over a distance. Axonal growth cones of young neurons collapse after coming in contact with Eph receptors from exosomes.
Research from the lab of Ruediger Klein
9. Juni 2016

Stable perception in the adult brain

Active neurons of the visual mouse cortex at changed sensory stimuli. The images in one row show one single nerve cell each. Each field of a colour block corresponds to one study (10 in total) over a period of two months. The partial images of the left block (yellow / red) show the structure of a nerve cell. In the middle two blocks the colours correspond to how strongly a cell responds to visual stimuli of different orientations. The second block represents the eye opposite to the examined brain hemisphere (here: the left eye). The third block corresponds to the right eye. The right block (blue / red) represents the relative response strength of the cells with stimulation of the dominant left eye (contralateral) relative to the right (ipsilateral) eye (contralateral: blue, ipsilateral: red, binocular Dominance: white). After closure of the left contralateral eye, some cells are more sensitive to the eye which remained open and thus appear red after the 3rd and 7th investigation.
Research from the lab of Tobias Bonhoeffer
4. Mai 2016

Smelling and tasting what’s good

The taste neurons in the leg of the fruit fly are activated via two types of polyamine receptors. This helps the fly to choose food and good egg-laying sites.
Research from the lab of Ilona Grunwald Kadow
14. April 2016

Hunger shifts sensory perception in the fish brain

Serotonergic nerve cells (green) have broadly distributed connections in the zebrafish brain. A new paper now shows that they influence how the brain perceives objects. (The eyes of the fish larva are shown in orange.)
Research from the lab of Herwig Baier
2. März 2016

Neuronal calculations consider expectations

T4 cells in the fly brain become particularly active when the eyes perceive a slowly moving bright edge.
Research from the lab of Alexander Borst
2. März 2016

Neuronal calculations consider expectations

Tests carried out in a virtual environment show how expected features in a complex environment are taken into account in neuronal calculations.
Research from the lab of Alexander Borst
4. Februar 2016

Cells that show where things are going

Clarity in the cellular thicket. Four classes of nerve cell (Tm9, 4, 1 and 2) are instrumental in calculating directionally selective signals in T5 neurons (yellow).
Research from the lab of Alexander Borst
3. Dezember 2015

Relative perception of the world

Using sophisticated behavioural testing apparatus, neurobiologists are decoding the fruit fly's perception and the underlying neural circuits.
Research from the lab of Alexander Borst
20. August 2015

Decision-making in the fly brain

Nerve cells that use dopamine as a neurotransmitter (green) enable hungry flies to ignore danger signs and modulate their innate behaviour.
Research from the lab of Ilona Grunwald Kadow
6. August 2015

Inhibitory synapses influence signals in the brain with high precision

Inhibitory nerve cells (green) can use individual synapses to modulate or block signal processing in cells in the cerebral cortex (red).
Research from the lab of Tobias Bonhoeffer
29. Juli 2015

Surprising similarity in fly and mouse motion vision

The neural circuits for motion vision are surprisingly similar in the fly and mouse brain.
Research from the lab of Alexander Borst
16. Juli 2015

Cellular motion filters

The brain processes the different directions of motion locally in separate layers. A new cell type (shown in colour) breaks this structure and prevents inappropriate activation of downstream wide-field neurons by mutual inhibition of the layers.
Research from the lab of Alexander Borst
25. Juni 2015

Fish on the run

The zebrafish tectum recognizes an approaching object as a threat. This brain area is innervated by axons from the eye (stained blue).
Research from the lab of Herwig Baier
13. April 2015

Open road to the circuit diagram of the brain

A new staining method closes one of the last methodological gaps: Now it's possible to map every nerve cell and its synapses in a mouse brain.
Research from the lab of Winfried Denk
3. Februar 2015

Relative perception of the world

The bar in this contrast illusion is uniformly grey, even if the right side of the bar appears darker than the left. If the luminance of the grey bar now changes, both humans and flies see a motion illusion.
Research from the lab of Alexander Borst
15. Dezember 2014

Which dot will they hunt?

When a zebrafish larva sees a prey object, this information is sent to neurons in the AF7 region of the brain. These neurons (one of which is shown here in blue) then send the hunting impulse to the areas that control movement.
Research from the lab of Herwig Baier
22. Oktober 2014

Neurons in a forest of signposts

During development, nerve cells (shown in blue, green, violet and yellow) extend their axons to target leg muscles. If the EphA4 receptors of the growing nerve cells no longer encounter freely accessible ephrins, the axons of many nerve cells (violet) are no longer able to find their partner cells.
Research from the lab of Ruediger Klein
22. Oktober 2014

Navigation for nerve cells

Neurons with the Unc5-receptor send their axons in a cell culture in all directions. The processes avoid the parallel orientated stripes containing the FLRT3-protein (red).
Research from the lab of Ruediger Klein
24. Juli 2014

Division of labour in the fish brain

With the help of optogenetics, scientists are able to activate small sets of neurons (purple) within the nMLF-region of the zebrafish larva’s midbrain (red box).
Research from the lab of Herwig Baier
24. Juli 2014

Faster fish thanks to nMLF neurons

Looking into the brain of a zebrafish larva. The neurons in the retina (green) send their signals from the eyes (yellow) to the brain. The cells linking the brain and spinal cord appear in red.
Research from the lab of Ruben Portugues
16. April 2014

How vision makes sure that little fish do not get carried away

Newly discovered neuron type (yellow) helps zebrafish to coordinate its eye and swimming movements. The image shows the blue-stained brain of a fish larva with the suggested position of the eyes.
Research from the lab of Herwig Baier
16. April 2014

Synapses – stability in transformation

During the learning processes, extensions grow on neurons. Synapses are located at the end of these extensions (left: as seen in nature; right: reconstruction). When the synapse growth is based on the correlated development of all synaptic components, it can remain stable for long periods of time.
Research from the lab of Tobias Bonhoeffer
18. Februar 2014

New lights for research

The new "Twitch"-sensors are tiny calcium indicators which are synthesized by the cell itself. If a cell does something, for example it becomes active, calcium enters the cell. Some of this calcium binds to "Twitch", which responds with a change in structure. This transformation is accompanied by a change in fluorescent color, detectable under the microscope.
Research from the lab of Oliver Griesbeck
5. Februar 2014

Sociable receptors: in pairs, in groups or in a crowd

Countless Eph receptors (green) can be found on the surface of this neuron. When they are artificially induced to form groups, the nerve process, or axon (red tip), withdraws.
Research from the lab of Ruediger Klein
30. Januar 2014

Parkinson gene: Nerve growth factor halts mitochondrial degeneration

Parkinson gene: Nerve growth factor halts mitochondrial degeneration.
Research from the lab of Ruediger Klein
18. Dezember 2013

Two-way traffic in the spinal cord

A newly described type of nerve cell revealed by purple staining in the embryonic spinal cord. These cells obtain their input from touch-sensitive cells, send their axons from the spinal cord towards the brain and probably act as a guidance system for axons which grow out of the brain into the spinal cord.
Research from the lab of Ruediger Klein
16. Oktober 2013

When neurons have less to say, they say it with particular emphasis

Even when neurons in the visual cortex are cut off from their main source of information, within 48 hours their activity returns to a level similar to that prior to the disruption. Under the microscope the currently active cells light up thanks to the addition of a calcium indicator.
Research from the lab of Tobias Bonhoeffer