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Katja Reinhard

Flexibility in Circuits & Behaviour
Sensory-motor processing

Katja ReinhardAssistant Professor

Katja Reinhard studied biomedical sciences at the Universities of Fribourg and Bern, Switzerland. During her PhD in the lab of Thomas Münch at the Center for Integrative Neuroscience in Tübingen, Germany, she trained as a physiologist and studied the retina of various species (mice, pigs, humans). She then moved to Leuven, Belgium, to study how visual information from the retina is processed and routed by the superior colliculus to guide innate behaviours as a postdoc in the lab of Karl Farrow. During her postdoc, Katja became an expert in viral tracing and in-vivo electrophysiology, and she set up a new research line to study the evolution of circuits underlying innate behaviours. By the end of 2022, Katja is joining SISSA as a new assistant professor and head of the ‘Flexibility in Circuits & Behaviour’ lab.



Research Activities

Imagine cycling through a town and a car door suddenly opens in front of you. You might react by hitting the breaks or by dodging the door and cycling around it. Which reaction is induced depends on external and internal factors – the traffic next to you, your stress level because of the meeting you're cycling to…

Avoiding danger, such as the car door, is one of the most essential and conserved set of behaviors, observed in most species from crabs to primates. To optimize an animal’s survival, the type, magnitude, and kinetics of avoidance responses need to be flexible and adaptable to the current context (traffic, stress…). However, the neural circuit elements that allow for this flexibility in behavioural output are largely unknown. Our aim is to identify how information about the environment and state can adapt behavioural decision making. To achieve this, we employ viral tracing methods, in-vivo electrophysiology and calcium imaging as well as behavioural assays in various rodent species.



Selected publications

02/09/2022 Front Neuroanat

No evidence for age-related alterations in the marmoset retina.

Haverkamp S, Reinhard K, Peichl L, Mietsch M. 

16/02/2021 PLoS One

Visual properties of human retinal ganglion cells.

Reinhard K*, Münch TA*.

02/06/2021 Neuron

Optogenetic fUSI for brain-wide mapping of neural activity mediating collicular-dependent behaviors.

Sans-Dublanc A*, Chrzanowska A*, Reinhard K, Lemmon D, Nuttin B, Lambert T, Montaldo G, Urban A, Farrow K.

eLife 2019 8:e50697

A projection specific logic to sampling visual inputs in mouse superior colliculus.

Reinhard K*, Li C*, Do Q, Burke E, Heynderickx S, Farrow K.

Nature Communications. 2017 DOI: 10.1038/s41467-017-01816-6

Rods progressively escape saturation to drive visual responses in daylight conditions. 

Tikidji-Hamburyan A*, Reinhard K*, Storchi R*, Dietter J*, Seitter H, Davis KE, Idrees S, Mutter M, Walmsley L, Bedford RA, Ueffing M, Ala-Laurila P, Brown TM, Lucas RJ, Münch TA.

Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2016 Feb;57(2):658-63

Hypothermia promotes survival of ischemic retinal ganglion cells.

Reinhard K*, Mutter M*, Gustafsson E, Gustafsson L, Vaegler M, Schultheiss M, Müller S, Yoeruek E, Schrader M, Münch TA.

Nat Neurosci. 2015 Jan;18(1):66-74.

Retinal output changes qualitatively with every change in ambient illuminance.

Tikidji-Hamburyan A*, Reinhard K*, Seitter H, Hovhannisyan A, Procyk CA, Allen AE, Schenk M, Lucas RJ, Münch TA.

Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2015 Jul 1;56(8):4835-45

Influence of Opa1 mutation on survival and function of retinal ganglion cells. 

Gonzalez-Menendez I*, Reinhard K*, Tolivia J, Wissinger B, Münch TA.


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