The five Departments of the Institute cover most of the levels of analysis of brain function, from molecular and cellular to systems and behavioural. Details of the individual projects are described in the Laboratory reports. In general, the topics are centred around the pathomechanisms of various neurological and psychiatric disorders, as well as around basic mechanisms of neurotransmission, and operational principles of various brain areas, networks and systems. The clinically related fields include epilepsy (human and animal models), Alzheimers and Parkinsons disease, anxiety, depression, chronic stress-related disorders, malfunctions in central regulation of reproduction and energy expenditure, ischaemia and neuropathic pain. Studies of basic mechanisms deal with the cellular basis of learning and memory, synaptic- and non-synaptic mechanisms and plasticity, synaptic integration at the single cell level studied by 2-photon Ca2+-imaging, the pharmacology of purinergic and monoaminergic neurotransmission, retrograde synaptic signaling (endocannabinoids), functional analysis and modeling of hippocampal networks, GABAergic control of thalamic functions, signal transduction in the olfactory bulb, neuroendocrine regulation of stress and adaptation, neuroimmune modulation, differentiation of progenitor cells, developmental regulation of GAD expression, organization and functions of orexigenic and anorexigenic neuronal networks, genetics, expression and regulatory role of type 2 deiodinase in the brain, genomic and non-genomic regulatory mechanisms of steroids and their activated receptors.
The Institute has extensive collaborations with pharmaceutical companies, which allows the immediate exploration of the potential use of basic research results of the Institute in the development of new drugs and strategies in pharmacotherapy. Complementary to this, the new generations of some drugs developed by these companies are screened in laboratories of the Institute in various behavioral, molecular, anatomical, electrophysiological and pharmacological tests.
Thus, the Institute’s primary mission is basic neuroscience research, but considerable efforts are made to bridge the gap between the academic slide and pharmaceutical industry or clinical studies by an increasing number of translational neuroscience projects, and a closer collaboration with pharmaceutical companies and clinical researchers. These activities in the Institute meet the research strategies and expectations of the European Union, leading to an increased chance of funding by the EU Framework Programs, and a better integration within the European Research Area.