All Group Leaders 

Neural circuits and behaviour in neurodevelopmental disorders

Marija-Magdalena  Petrinovic

Marija-Magdalena Petrinovic


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Our group is particularly interested in two questions: How is genetic information translated into neural circuits and behavior? How are these processes affected in neurodevelopmental and neuropsychiatric disorders? We use an integrative approach combining genetics, molecular biology, neuroimaging, electrophysiology, optogenetic fMRI, pharmacological and behavioral studies to address these questions.

Our research concerns how neural circuits, once established, control various aspects of our behavior and how their malfunction results in behavioral alterations that are hallmarks of autism. Understanding the development and organization of neural circuits, the ways they mediate behaviour, and identifying the causal changes that lead to behavioural aberrations is crucial for developing a new generation of therapeutics and traversing the “bench-to-bedside” divide.

Selected publications

Harmeier A, Meyer CA, Staempfli A, Casagrande F, Petrinovic MM, Zhang YP, Künnecke B, Iglesias A, Höner OP, Hoener MC (2018) How Female Mice Attract Males: A Urinary Volatile Amine Activates a Trace Amine-Associated Receptor That Induces Male Sexual Interest. Frontiers in Pharmacology 9: 924

Horder J, Petrinovic MM, Mendez MA, Bruns A, Takumi T, Spooren W, Barker GJ, Künnecke B, Murphy DG (2018) Glutamate and GABA in autism spectrum disorder-a translational magnetic resonance spectroscopy study in man and rodent models. Transl Psychiatry 8: 106

Ajram LA, Pereira AC, Durieux AMS, Velthius HE, Petrinovic MM, McAlonan GM (2018) The contribution of [1H] magnetic resonance spectroscopy to the study of excitation-inhibition in autism. Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry 89: 236-244

Petrinovic MM, Hankov G, Schroeter A, Bruns A, Rudin M, von Kienlin M, Künnecke B, Mueggler T (2016) A novel anesthesia regime enables neurofunctional studies and imaging genetics across mouse strains. Sci Rep 6: 24523

Durieux AM, Horder J, Petrinovic MM (2015) Neuroligin-2 and the tightrope of excitation/inhibition balance in the prefrontal cortex. J Neurophysiol 115: 5-7