Wolfger von der Behrens

Group Leader
Work phone:
++41-44-63 53043

I studied biology at the University of Bonn, Lund and Frankfurt. After spending time in different labs getting to know a variety of techniques of the neurosciences like fMRI, patch clamp and cell culture it became clear to me that I want to understand better the neuronal circuitry underlying cognitive processes like decision making and attention. Addressing these questions requires a combination of behavioural and physiological experiments, which I learned during my PhD studies at the University of Frankfurt.

Currently, I’m interested in how the stimulus statistics shape the stimulus representation and perception, how misled plasticity processes give rise to phantom perceptions like tinnitus and how endogenous and exogenous attention is guided. A neuronal mechanism assumed to underlie all these phenomena is adaptation of the neuronal firing, which we study intensively. Three research lines are pursued:

1.) Influence of adaptation on perceptual decisions in the somatosensory system.

2.) How does auditory attention shapes the cortical stimulus representation?

3.) Influence of temporary acoustic trauma on cortical adaptation and the development of tinnitus.

To this end we employ different techniques in combination:

- Multichannel recordings (up to 64 channels) of single units and local field potentials

- Optogenetic manipulation of neuronal activity in the auditory and somatosensory cortex

- Behavioral training and analysis of rats and mice.

We are always looking for students who are interested in these questions and methods and want to do a master thesis in our lab (both UZH and ETHZ).


BME 302 Systems Neurobiology
BIO 343, 376-1305-01 Neural Systems for Sensory, Motor and Higher Brain Functions
BIO 434 Electrophysiological Recording Techniques
INI-401, 227-1037-00 Introduction to Neuroinformatics
INI-431, 227-1045-00 Readings in Neuroinformatics



  • Elena Gronskaya and Wolfger von der Behrens Evoked response strength in primary auditory cortex predicts performance in a spectro-spatial discrimination task in rats, Journal of Neuroscience, 2019