Research Project

Fear and anxiety disorders have a high prevalence in human population and one of the approaches to study them is to apply fear conditioning paradigm in mice. In rodents fear and anxiety-like behaviour is characterised by phasic (short-lasting) and sustained (long-lasting) fear. Anxiety-like behaviour in rodents has been recently shown to be influenced by 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT). However, the specific role of the distinct types of 5-HT receptors in phasic and sustained fear is unknown. Particularly, it is assumed that the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (BNST) − part of the so-called “extended amygdala” − plays an important role in states of sustained fear. Based on 5-HT receptor subtype, serotonin excites or inhibits neural transmission in the BNST. The objective of this project is to elucidate the role of 5-HT receptors in modulation of phasic and sustained fear in the anterodorsal BNST of freely behaving mice.

PhD Committee

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


Zakharova M. A., Polyakova I. V., Groshikova A. R., Pisarev O. A., Panarin E. F. (2011)
Molecular recognition of glucose by artificial receptors of imprinted polymeric network. St. Petersburg State Polytechnical University J. 3: 127–133.

Conference Contributions

Hessel M., Kortzak D., Fahlke Ch., Kovermann P. (2015). Functional characterisation of a glial glutamate transporter carrying a mutation associated with familial hemiplegic migraine
Poster presentation at the 4th Symposium of the Young Physiologists, Leipzig, Germany, 24 Sep 2015 – 25 Sep 2015.


* 1989 Tallinn, Estonia
2006 - 2012 Studies in Medical Biophysics at the Peter the Great Saint-Petersburg Polytechnic University, Russia
2013 - 2015 Studies in Biomedical Engineering at the University of Applied Sciences, Aachen
2014 - 2015 Internship and Master Thesis, Research Center Jülich, Institute of Complex Systems 4 (ICS-4)
2016 Research assistant at the Research Center Jülich, ICS-4
2016 PhD student at the University of Münster at the Institute of Physiology I