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Prof. Dr. Carlos Bas Orth


Dr. Senckenbergische Anatomie
Institute for Clinical Neuroanatomy
Haus 89, Heinrich Hoffmann Str. 7
60528 Frankfurt am Main


+49 (0)69 6301-6916



Scientific Focus

Our brains and nerve cells are not etched in stone, but instead are constantly being shaped by our sensory and cognitive experience. On a molecular level, synaptic activity drives changes in neuronal gene expression that are required for long-lasting adaptations of neuronal structure and function. These adaptations include – among others – synaptic plasticity, structural remodeling, and acquired neuroprotection.
Our research focuses on a particular form of neuronal adaption, namely metabolic plasticity. We are interested in understanding how activity-dependent gene transcription controls neuronal energy metabolism and how this renders mitochondria more resistant to stressful conditions. In addition, we are investigating how metabolic plasticity is disturbed during aging and in neurological disease. To address these questions, we are using a combination of molecular biology, biochemistry and multiparametric live imaging in primary hippocampal neurons, organotypic hippocampal slice cultures, and mouse brain.


multiparametric live imaging in primary neurons and brain slices (imaging of, e.g., Ca2+, mitochondrial redox status, mitochondrial membrane potential, cellular ATP levels); gene expression analysis (qRT-PCR, spatial transcriptomics); biochemical assays of neuronal energy metabolism (enzyme histochemistry, isotope tracing); virus-mediated gene transfer; animal models of neuroinflammation


Selected Publications

Casaril AM, Katsalifis A, Schmidt RM, Bas-Orth C (2022) Activated glia cells cause bioenergetic impairment of neurons that can be rescued by knock-down of the mitochondrial calcium uniporter. Biochem Biophys Res Commun 608, 45-51

Bas-Orth C*, Schneider J*, Lewen A, McQueen J, Hasenpusch-Theil K, Theil T, Hardingham GE, Bading H, Kann O (2020) The mitochondrial calcium uniporter is crucial for the generation of fast cortical network rhythms. J Cereb Blood Flow Metab 40, 2225-2239

Hagenston AM, Bading H, Bas-Orth C (2020) Functional Consequences of Calcium-Dependent Synapse-to-Nucleus Communication: Focus on Transcription-Dependent Metabolic Plasticity. Cold Spring Harbor perspectives in biology 12

Bas-Orth C, Tan YW, Lau D, Bading H (2017) Synaptic Activity Drives a Genomic Program That Promotes a Neuronal Warburg Effect. J Biol Chem 292, 5183-5194

Cohen MS*, Bas Orth C*, Kim HJ, Jeon NL, Jaffrey SR (2011) Neurotrophin-mediated dendrite-to-nucleus signaling revealed by microfluidic compartmentalization of dendrites. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 108, 11246-11251

*equal contribution

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