Detlef Heck, Ph.D.
Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology
The University of Tennessee Health Science Center
855 Monroe Avenue, Suite 515
Memphis, TN 38163
Phone: (901) 448-1678
Fax: (901) 448-7193
Lab: 405 Wittenborg Anatomy Building
Email: Detlef Heck
- Ph.D. Institution: The University of Tübingen, Germany and Max-Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Tübingen
- Postdoctoral: Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Tübingen; Friedrich Miescher Laboratory of the Max-Planck Society, Tübingen; Washington University School of Medicine, St Louis, MO
Structure and function of the cerebellar cortical network, cerebro-cerebellar interaction, neuronal mechanisms of motor control, dynamics of neuronal communication during behavior.
Many areas of the brain collaborate in a finely tuned manner in the control of behavior. The neocortex and the cerebellum are two key players in this concert. They are strongly connected via massive fiber bundles and have both grown equally in size during the course of vertebrate evolution. The network architectures of these two closely collaborating networks, however, are fundamentally different. For example, the neocortical network contains abundant excitatory feedback loops and the connectivity between neurons appears to be random. In contrast to this, the cerebellar cortical network has neurons and fibers arranged in a highly geometrical way. Excitatory and inhibitory fibers are nicely separated and run in orthogonal directions. There is no significant excitatory feedback. Cerebro-cerebellar communication occurs via intermediary nuclei. Output from the neocortex is relayed to the cerebellum via neurons in the pontine nuclei and cerebellar output reaches the neocortex via thalamus.
The essential structural differences between the neocortical and the cerebellar cortical network suggest that the two perform entirely different computations. I am interested in understanding what neuronal computations the cerebellum performs and how it exchanges information with the neocortex during the control of behavior. To address these questions I investigate neuronal communication within and between neocortex and cerebellum in two ways: 1) Multiple-electrode recording techniques including simultaneous recordings from neocortex and cerebellum during behavior are combined with behavioral analysis to link neuronal mechanisms to behavioral output, 2) Simultaneous multiple-electrode extra and intracellular recordings provide insights into the highly dynamic interaction between individual pairs of neurons and between single neurons and their surrounding network.
- McAfee SS, Ogg MC, Ross JM, Liu Y, Fletcher ML, Heck DH. Minimally invasive highly precise monitoring of respiratory rhythm in the mouse using an epithelial temperature probe. J Neurosci Methods. 2016 Apr 1;263:89-94. doi: 10.1016/j.jneumeth.2016.02.007. Epub 2016 Feb 8. PubMed PMID: 26868731; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4801653.
- White JJ, Arancillo M, Stay TL, George-Jones NA, Levy SL, Heck DH, Sillitoe RV. Cerebellar zonal patterning relies on Purkinje cell neurotransmission. J Neurosci. 2014 Jun 11;34(24):8231-45. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0122-14.2014. PubMed PMID: 24920627; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4051975.
- Heck DH, De Zeeuw CI, Jaeger D, Khodakhah K, Person AL. The neuronal code(s) of the cerebellum. J Neurosci. 2013 Nov 6;33(45):17603-9. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2759-13.2013. Review. PubMed PMID: 24198351; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3818542.
- Lu L, Cao Y, Tokita K, Heck DH, Boughter JD Jr. Medial cerebellar nuclear projections and activity patterns link cerebellar output to orofacial and respiratory behavior. Front Neural Circuits. 2013 Apr 2;7:56. doi: 10.3389/fncir.2013.00056. eCollection 2013. PubMed PMID: 23565078; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3613706.
- Rogers TD, Dickson PE, McKimm E, Heck DH, Goldowitz D, Blaha CD, Mittleman G. Reorganization of circuits underlying cerebellar modulation of prefrontal cortical dopamine in mouse models of autism spectrum disorder. Cerebellum. 2013 Aug;12(4):547-56. doi: 10.1007/s12311-013-0462-2. PubMed PMID: 23436049; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3854915.
- Qiao S, Kim SH, Heck D, Goldowitz D, LeDoux MS, Homayouni R. Dab2IP GTPase activating protein regulates dendrite development and synapse number in cerebellum. PLoS One. 2013;8(1):e53635. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0053635. Epub 2013 Jan 9. PubMed PMID: 23326475; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3541190.
Dr. Heck is the editor of the newly released The Neuronal Codes of the Cerebellum