Dr. Elizabeth Matthews

Laboratory of Experimental Physiology
Department of Neurosurgery
University of Bonn, Medical Center
Sigmund-Freud-Str. 25
D-53105 Bonn

Phone +49  (0) 228 287-16254
Fax +49  (0) 228 287-11718


Curriculum vitae Dr. Elizabeth Matthews

Research Interests

I am interested in the control of somatic and dendritic excitability and how this allows neurons to process and store information. Recently, I hace focused on the role of calcium signals accompanying action potentials and synaptic activity in modulating synaptic and somatic properties. Calcium is a broadly active intracellular second messenger in neurons and plays an important role in regulating a wide range of neuronal functions. But, upon entering a neuron calcium ions are not indiscriminately active, indicating that calcium must be tightly restricted in concentration and spatial diffusion. This regulation results from the combined effects of calcium entry, diffusion, buffering, and removal. We have discovered that these parameters of calcium handling are highly variable between different cells types, and my current research direction aims to understand how cells can modulate their calcium handling systems to tune their excitability and plasticity.


I currently utilize patch-clamp recordings in hippocampal slice preparations combined with confocal and multi-photon calcium imaging and laser uncaging to study calcium handling dynamics in dendrites. Post-recording, I use immunos to reconstruct and identify different neuronal and interneuronal cell types based on their morphology. In combination with empirical data, I use biophysical modeling to better understand the spatio-temporal distribution of calcium within neurons.

5 most important publications

1. Erdmann E, Rupprecht V, Matthews E, Kukley M, Schoch S, Dietrich D. (2011) Depression of release by mGluR8 alters Ca2+ dependence of release machinery. Cerebral Cortex, 22(7): 1498-509.

2. McKay BM, Matthews EA, Oliveira FA, Disterhoft JF. (2009) Intrinsic neuronal excitability is reversibly altered by a single experience in fear conditioning. J Neurophys, 102(5): 2763-2770.

3. Matthews EA, Linardakis JM, Disterhoft JF. (2009) The fast and slow AHP are differentially modulated in hippocampal neurons by aging and learning. J Neurosci, 29(15): 4750-4755.

4. Matthews EA, Disterhoft JF. (2009) Blocking the BK channel impedes acquisition of trace eyeblink conditioning. Learn Mem, 16(2): 106-109.

5. Matthews EA, Weible AP, Shah S, Disterhoft JF. (2008) The BK-mediated fAHP is modulated by learning a hippocampus-dependent task. PNAS, 105(39): 15154-15159.