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Prof. Dr.
Johannes Letzkus

Institute of Physiology
Department of Physiology I
Tel.: 0049-761-203-67312



  • 2008 Ph.D. in Medial Sciences at the John Curtin School of Medical Research, Australian National University, Canberra, Australia
  • 2007-2013 Postdoctoral Fellow and Independent SNSF Ambizione Investigator at the Friedrich Miescher Institute for Biomedical Research, Basel, Switzerland
  • 2013 ERC Starting Grant, Pfizer Prize, Frutiger Foundation University Prize
  • 2013-2020 Max-Planck Research Group Leader at the MPI for Brain Research, Frankfurt/Main
  • Seit 2020 DFG Heisenberg Professorship at the Faculty of Medicine, University of Freiburg

Focus of research

  • Neuronal Circuits underlying memory and attention
  • Foundations of (mal)adaptive fear memory in neocortex
  • The neocortical inhibitory system in rodents and humans

Selected publications

  • Pardi MB, Vogenstahl J, Dalmay T, Spano T, Pu D, Naumann LB, Sprekeler H, Letzkus JJ.
    A thalamo-cortical top-down circuit for associative memory. Science. 2020. 370. 844-848.
  • Dalmay T, Abs E, Poorthuis RB, Hartung J, Pu D, Onasch S, Lozano YR, Signoret-Genest J, Tovote P, Gjorgjieva J, Letzkus JJ.
    A critical role for neocortical processing of threat memory. Neuron. 2019. 104. 1180-1194.
  • Abs E, Poorthuis RB, Apelblat D, Muhammad K, Pardi MB, Enke L, Kushinsky D, Pu D, Eizinger MF, Conzelmann K-K, Spiegel I, Letzkus JJ.
    Learning-related plasticity in dendrite-targeting layer 1 interneurons. Neuron. 2018. 100. 684-699.
  • Poorthuis RB, Muhammad K, Wang M, Verhoog MB, Junek S, Wrana A, Mansvelder HD, Letzkus JJ.
    Rapid Neuromodulation of Layer 1 Interneurons in Human Neocortex. Cell Reports. 2018. 23. 951-958.

Research methods

  • 2-photon calcium imaging of neurons and subcellular structures during behavior
  • Novel transgenic mouse lines for selective targeting of identified neuron types
  • Electrophysiology of identified neuron types in human neocortex