It is crucial to untangle the incredible complexity of the human brain in order to develop more effective therapies for neurological disorders such as autism, schizophrenia or depression. The Berndt lab designs fluorescent biosensors for optogenetic approaches. The aim is to detect even small imbalances in neuronal function which will provide key knowledge about the underlying causes of those diseases. We develop sensors for neurotransmitter, neuromodulators, hormones, ions and intracellular signaling molecules. The goal of our research is to provide multidimensional real-time data of neuronal activity in brains of moving and behaving animals. One big advantage is that our sensors are protein based which means they can be expressed in virtually any cell type by using virus or plasmid DNA. Thus, they are universally applicable and we seek to expand applications into other cell types such as cardiac, pancreatic and stem cells.