Institute of Neuroscience

Staff Profile

Dr Marcus Haag

Laboratory Technician

Background

Hi,

I am interested in the way neurons interact within neuronal networks in order to allow us to process complex tasks that involve different areas of the brain. Among such tasks is the selective attention toward objects in our environment. I am furthermore interested in investigating how dysfunctions within such neuronal networks can lead to neurological disorders, such as epilepsy. 

In 2016 I started a PostDoc with Dr. Michael Schmid at the Institute of Neuroscience at Newcastle University, where we are currently investigating thalamocortical signal transmission in NHPs and rodents. While I am still involved in much of the research, I am currently predominantly focussing on managing methodological and welfare aspects of our lab. Methodologies I am regularly working with include optogenetics, stereotaxic surgeries, electrophysiology, fMRI, and immunohistochemistry. Welfare aspects I am working on include improvements of surgical implants (osseointegration, MRI compatability) and devices that allow unsupervised closed-loop training that allow freely moving NHPs to perform complex tasks, which both increases their welfare and decreases the workload of researchers.



Qualifications

Cognitive Science, B.Sc (University of Osnabrueck, Germany)

Neuroscience, M.Sc. (University of Bremen, Germany)

Neuropharmacology, Ph.D. (University of Reading, UK) 


Previous positions

2011-2012 Research Fellow (University of Bremen, Germany)

2016-2017 Research Associate (Newcastle University, UK)




Research

The investigation of (dys-)functions within neuronal network regularly involve the use of animals in research. Early on I was, therefore, trying to improve both animal welfare and experimental methodologies during my research. For my Ph.D. in Neuropharmacology, I investigated epileptic dysfunctions using in vitro multielectrode arrays, which allow for the measurement of neuronal network activity exerted by modified pluripotent stem cells. Such cells and tissue can be derived from many sources that promote the reduction of animals in research (e.g. IPS cells or dissected human tissue).

In the course of my current employment, I am emphasizing on improving animals welfare particularly with regard to surgeries and training approaches. Here, we are developing MRI compatible implant designs with improved osseointegration characteristics. Furthermore, we are working on devices that allow for unsupervised closed-loop training of freely moving NHPs. 

These are likely to increase both the NHPs' welfare and reduce the workload of researchers involved in training/welfare.


Teaching

I demonstrated to biology students during my M.Sc and pharmacy students during my Ph.D. covering courses such as pain perception, structural anatomy, electrophysiological techniques, molecular techniques and animal training.

I also trained students to play table tennis and ultimate frisbee. 




Publications