We use patch-clamp recordings from brain slice preparations to study the physiology of synapses, synaptic plasticity, and intrinsic excitability changes.

Synaptic and intrinsic plasticity


We use imaging techniques to study calcium transients in dendritic spines and their role in plasticity. These measurements are complemented by patch-clamp recordings from Purkinje cell dendrites.



Cerebellar abnormalities and motor problems are common features in autism spectrum disorder (ASD). We study synaptopathies in ASD mouse models.


Welcome to the Hansel Lab

One of the most intriguing features of our brains is the ability to learn and to adapt. The main goal of our lab is to study the mechanisms underlying the formation of memories. We focus on the cerebellum, which is a brain area involved in motor coordination and learning, and which also plays a role in cognitive functions. Using patch-clamp recordings from cerebellar slice preparations, we examine activity-dependent changes in synaptic strength (synaptic plasticity) as well as changes in membrane excitability (intrinsic plasticity) that may form a cellular basis for information storage and learning. We also study abnormalities in synaptic physiology and in cerebellar function in autism, which often is associated with motor problems.

Lab News:

Heather’s and Gabrielle’s new manuscript on intrinsic plasticity in Purkinje cells got accepted for publication in the Journal of Neuroscience.

And Giorgio’s new manuscript on the role of intrinsic plasticity in behavioral (motor) learning got accepted for publication in PLoS Biology.



If you are interested in our work and like to inquire about open positions in the lab, please send your CV and application to: chansel@bsd.uchicago.edu