Fabian Heim

Neural Circuits for Vocal Communication

Main Focus

Song production and learning is governed by different cell types across multiple regions within the songbird brain. Among those cell types, inhibitory interneurons contribute to neural circuit functions. They do not only enable communication between different classes of neurons but have recently been implicated in guiding tutor song memorisation. With a strong background in behavioural genetics and transcriptomics it is my aim to target local interneuron populations in brain areas of songbirds. My approach exploits various viral vectors and constructs causing interneurons to become susceptible for optical manipulation with light of specific wavelengths. By activating or deactivating interneurons in zebra finches during different learning stages I plan to interfere with the song learning process. This will help us to comprehend the role of interneurons during song learning and vocal communication in general.

Curriculum Vitae

Professional Employment
2019 – 2023     Postdoc, Vallentin-Lab, Max Planck Institute for Ornithology.
2013            Field assistant, Max Planck-Institute for Ornithology, Seewiesen.
2012            Lab internship, Max Planck-Institute for Ornithology, Seewiesen.
2012            Internship, Natural History Museum, Stuttgart.
2010    Lab internship, Max Planck-Institute for Developmental Biology, Tübingen.

2014 – 2018         PhD student, Language in Interaction Research Consortium, Leiden University, Max Planck-Institute for Psycholinguistics, the Netherlands.
Supervisors: Carel ten Cate, Katharina Riebel, Simon Fisher, Constance Scharff.
2011 – 2014         M. Sc. in Biology, University of Hohenheim, Germany.
2008 – 2011         B. Sc. in Biology, University of Tübingen, Germany.

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