Ute Hochgeschwender is a Professor of Neuroscience at Central Michigan University, where she heads the Bioluminescent Optogenetics Laboratory. Central components of the lab’s activities are advancing and applying the concept of using biological light, i.e. a light-generating protein, a luciferase, to activate light-sensing photoreceptors, both ion moving opsins and non-ion moving photoswitches. Applications of our tools include exploration of the relationship between developmental neuronal activity and shaping of neuronal circuitry resulting in adult behavior, driving neuronal activity to intervene in the neurodegenerative decline of brain function, and experimentally manipulating neuronal activity for regenerating injured neuronal circuits.
We are using a wide range of approaches and technologies for these studies, including molecular engineering, generation of viral vectors, cell culture work, multi electrode recordings in vitro and in vivo, and behavioral analysis.
Our work is highly collaborative and includes the Shaner lab at UCSD and the Moore and Lipscombe Labs at Brown University. Our research is supported by grants from NIH, NSF, the W.M. Keck Foundation and the Craig H. Neilsen Foundation.
UH graduated from the Free University of Berlin, Germany, with degrees in Medicine (MD) and Philosophy (MA), and continued training as a postdoctoral fellow at the Max Planck Institute in Freiburg, Germany, and The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California, before starting her academic career as an Assistant Professor at Mount Sinai Medical School in New York. She moved to Central Michigan University in 2014.