Our lab seeks to understand the key molecular and neuronal mechanisms that underlie the regulation of EMOTION AND COGNITION. We use a broad range of imaging and recording techniques in mice to understand how activity in relevant NEURONAL CIRCUITS is regulated in vitro and in vivo. We use cutting-edge genetic and molecular techniques to perturb defined components of the signaling machinery in those neuronal circuits to dissect the detailed neurobiological mechanisms that underlie the formation of emotion and cognition.




Neuropeptides are signaling molecules that are synthetized by neurons and serve as messengers between neurons and other cell types in the brain. More than 100 different neuropeptides are known so far, however only a minority of these has been thoroughly investigated.  Our lab seeks to discover new functions of neuropeptides in the regulation of emotion and cognition.



The Melzer Lab uses a broad range of techniques to understand the function and mechanisms of neuronal circuits and neuropeptides, including fiber photometric imaging in freely moving mice, in vitro patch-clamp recordings, CRISPR/Cas9-mediated genetic manipulations, optogenetic and chemogenetic investigation of neuronal cell types and a series of behavioral tasks to probe emotional and cognitive functions. 

Ongoing Projects

#1: ERC-StG (2022-2027): Neuropeptidergic modulation of synaptic circuits in fear and anxiety

#2: WWTF VRG (2022-2027): Neuronal and neuropeptidergic mechanisms for flexible control of learning and memory

This project explores how selected neuropeptides modulate learning and memory. The focus is on understanding how neuropeptides can push a neuronal network into a state of increased encoding of either positive or negative association memories. More information on the funding can be found here: www.wwtf.at