Achim Walter

Institute of Physiology I
Robert-Koch-Str. 27a
D-48149 Münster

Phone: +49 (0) 251/83 55553
Fax.: +49 (0) 251/83 55551


Joined OCC in 2014

Research Project

Neuronal and Synaptic Network Properties of the Extended Amygdala

This research project is focused on the extended amygdala, which is comprised of central, medial and basal amygdala (CeA, MeA, BA) and their sublenticular extensions to the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (BNST).
The BNST has been implicated as a highly important structure during states of fear and anxiety. Being an integrative area for cortical, limbic, hypothalamic, and brainstem regions, the BNST is highly heterogenous. First of all it is divided by the anterior commissure into anterodorsal (adBNST) and ventral (vBNST) nucleus. The anterodorsal part can be further divided into the anterolateral (BNSTal) and the anteromedial (BNSTam) part. The anterolateral part contains a separate nucleus which is called the oval nucleus (BNSTov). Structural analyses and tracing studies show a complex network of reciprocal connections between nuclei of the amygdala and nuclei within the BNST. This complexity is also carried on in the BNST itself where afore mentioned nuclei show opposing activation in different states of fear and anxiety. For example BNSTam and BNSTal show opposing activation during classical conditioned fear (Haufler et al. 2013), whereas BNSTov and adBNST show opposing activation during anxiety (Kim et al. 2013).
While vital progress is being made in this area of research, the neuronal circuitry in the BNST and associated nuclei is not yet fully understood. Therefore this study will focus on the characterization of the active and passive instrinsic properties of cellular connections within the BNST by means of whole-cell patch clamp- and immunohistochemical techniques in slice preparations of the mouse extended amygdala in vitro. The aim is to provide a classification scheme as an important basis for functional studies. This will be achieved by focusing on the mechanisms of neuropeptides, in particular neuropeptide Y (NPY), known to regulate phasic fear and anxiety in the extended amygdala.

PhD Committee

Prof. Dr. Hans-Christian Pape
Prof. Dr. Thomas Budde
Prof. Dr. Norbert Sachser


Sosulina L, Strippel C, Romo-Parra H, Walter AL, Kanyshkova T, Sartori SB, Lange MD, Singewald N, Pape HC. (2015). Substance P excites GABAergic neurons in the mouse central amygdala through neurokinin 1 receptor activation. J Neurophysiol.


*1986 Crailsheim, Germany
2006-2011 Studies in Biology, Julius-Maximilians-University Würzburg
2010 Student internship at the the Departement of Psychiatry & Psychiatric Neuroscience, James Cook University, Australia
2011-2012 Diploma thesis at the Laboratory of Translational Neuroscience, Department of Psychiatry, University Würzburg
2013 PhD Student at the Institute of Physiology I, University of Münster