Neuroplasticity and Rhythms

Institute of Experimental and Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology

Group Members

Lisa Marshall (Group leader)
Sonja Binder (Postdoc)
Diana Campos Beltrán (PhD student)
Ping Chai Koo (PhD student)

Research Interests

Our research group is interested in the interaction between brain electric rhythms and cognition, in particular memory processes. The focus is on macroscopic brain rhythms such as sleep slow oscillation, sleep spindles and theta activity, and their contribution to memory consolidation, learning and working memory. An important aspect of our research is to develop and use behavioral protocols which are closely comparable between humans and rodents.                                                                                  

The interaction between brain electric activity and behavior is bi-directional we investigate both the impact of manipulating brain rhythms (via weak electric currents/fields, sensory stimulation or pharmacologically) on cognitive activity, as well as the effect of cognitive events on the expression of oscillatory network activity.                                                                       

 A main focus of ours is the use of non-invasive brain stimulation protocols to investigate the role of endogenous brain electric activity (reflected in EEG and local field potentials) for neuroplasticity and behavioral performance. Since the magnitude of fields induced by weak oscillatory and constant currents (tDCS, oscillatory-tDCS, tACS) lie in the range of endogenous brain electric activity this form of non-invasive manipulation is therefore hypothesized to simulate potential effects of endogenous brain rhythms involved in processes of neuroplasticity.


  • Lucas Parra, Department of Biomedical Engineering, City University of New York, USA
  • Ken Paller, Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory, Northwestern University, USA
  • Alexey Ponomarenko, NeuroCure Exzellenzcluster, Charité Berlin, Germany

Latest Publications

  1. Marshall, L (in press) A role for neuronal oscillations of sleep in memory and cognition. In:Neuronal Oscillations of Wakefulness and Sleep. Thien Thanh Dang-Vu, Richard Courtemanche (Eds.)
  2. Binder S, Berg K, Gasca F, Lafon B, Parra LC, Born J, Marshall L (2014) Transcranial slow oscillation stimulation during sleep enhances memory consolidation in rats. Brain Stimul. 7:508-15
  3. Binder S, Rawohl J, Born J, Marshall L (2014) Transcranial slow oscillation stimulation during NREM sleep enhances acquisition of the radial maze task and modulates cortical network activity in rats. Front Behav Neurosci. 8;7:220.
  4. Marshall L, Binder S (2013) Contribution of transcranial oscillatory stimulation to research on neural networks: an emphasis on hippocampo-neocortical rhythms. Front Hum Neurosci. 7:614.
  5. Ayoub A, Aumann D, Hörschelmann A, Kouchekmanesch A, Paul P, Born J, Marshall L (2013) Differential effects on fast and slow spindle activity, and the sleep slow oscillation in humans with carbamazepine and flunarizine to antagonize voltage-dependent Na+ and Ca2+ channel activity. Sleep 36: 905-11.