Sie sind hier: FRIAS School of Life Sciences … Fellows Peter Jonas

Peter Jonas

Internal Senior Fellow
October 2008 - December 2010

IST Austria
Am Campus 1
3400 Klosterneuburg

Tel. +43 (0)2243 - 9000
Fax +43 (0)2243 - 9000-2000


Peter Jonas was born 10.05.1961 in Darmstadt, Germany. He studied Human Medicine  from 1980 - 1986 at the University of Giessen. In 1987, he obtained his MD degree with experimental work on the action of scorpion toxins on Na+ channels in myelinated axons. From 1988 - 1989, he was Postdoctoral fellow at the Physiological Institute of the University of Giessen. From 1990 – 1994, he worked as research assistant at the Max Planck Institute for Medical Research in Heidelberg in the department of Cell Physiology headed by the Nobel laureate Prof. Dr. Bert Sakmann. In 1992, he obtained his habilitation with experimental work on the molecular identification of native voltage-gated K+ channels and glutamate-activated ionic channels with the patch-clamp technique. From June 1994 - March 1995, he was associate Professor at the Technical University of München at the Physiological Institute. Since April 1995, he is full Professor and head of department at the Physiological Institute of the University of Freiburg. Despite several offers from other universities and research institutes (e.g. University of Heidelberg, Biocenter Basel, University of California Irvine), he remained in Freiburg ever since.

Peter Jonas received numerous scientific honors. In 1992, he was offered a Heisenberg fellowship of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft DFG. In 1994, he received the Heinz Maier Leibnitz award from the German minister of education and science, in 1997 the Medinfar European prize in physiology from the President of Portugal, in 1998 the Max Planck research award for international cooperation, in 2006 the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz award of the DFG (1.55 Mio €), and in 2007 the Tsungming Tu Award of the National Science Council of Taiwan (75000 $). Since 2002, he is Member of the “Deutsche Akademie der Naturforscher Leopoldina”.

Peter Jonas is or was also member of the editorial board of several high-profile scientific journals. From 1996 – 2003, he served the editorial board of the Journal of Physiology (London). From 2001 – 2006, he was associate editor of the Journal of Neuroscience. Since 2007, he is member of the Board of Reviewing Editors of the journal ‘Science’. From 2004 – 2007, he served the grant review panel (Fachkollegium) Neuroscience of the DFG. Since January 2008, he is coordinator of the newly established Collaborative Research Center “Synaptic Mechanisms of Neuronal Network Function” (SFB 780).


FRIAS Project

The scientific focus of Peter Jonas is the analysis of the mechanisms of synaptic communication in the nervous system. In particular, Peter Jonas is interested in the question how synaptic properties shape complex network functions, such as encoding of information or learning. To address this question, he concentrates on the hippocampal network, a region of the brain that plays a critical role in learning and memory. One major interest of Peter Jonas is to study the function of GABAergic interneurons in this brain area. Another research focus is the analysis of the function of axons and presynaptic terminals. Peter Jonas is one of the pioneers of axonal and presynaptic patch-clamp recording. More recently, he also examined the mechanisms of generation of oscillatory activity in interneuron networks combining experimental and computational techniques. He also studied the functional properties of newly generated granule cells in the dentate gyrus, one of the two brain areas where adult neurogenesis takes place. Within the time windows for research proved by FRIAS, Peter Jonas will resume own experimental work. He plans to develop techniques to record from presynaptic terminals of GABAergic interneurons, with the final goal to characterize the ion channels, the mechanisms of exocytosis, and the signaling pathways of synaptic dynamics at GABAergic synapses.


Selected Publications

  1. A. Pernia-Andrade, P. Jonas: The Multiple Faces of RIM Neuron, 2011; 69 (2): 185-187
  2. A. Nörenberg, H. Hu, I. Vida, M. Bartos, P. Jonas: Distinct nonuniform cable properties optimize rapid and efficient activation of fast-spiking GABAergic interneurons Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2010; 107 (2): 894-899
  3. H. Hu, M. Martina, P. Jonas: Dendritic Mechanisms Underlying Rapid Synaptic Activation of Fast-Spiking Hippocampal Interneurons Science, 2010; 327 (5961): 52-58
  4. I. Bucurenciu, J. Bischofberger, P. Jonas: A small number of open Ca2+ channels trigger transmitter release at a central GABAergic synapse Nature Neuroscience, 2010; 13 (1): 19-21
  5. S. Guzman, P. Jonas: Beyond TARPs: the growing list of auxiliary AMPAR subunits Neuron, 2010; 66 (1): 8-10
  6. J. Schwenk, N. Harmel, G. Zolles, W. Bildl, A. Kulik, B. Heimrich, O. Chisaka, P. Jonas, U. Schulte, B. Fakler, N. Klöcker: Functional proteomics identify Cornichon proteins as auxiliary subunits of AMPA receptors Science, 2009; 323: 1313-1319
  7. Bucurenciu I, Kulik A, Schwaller B, Frotscher M, Jonas P (2008) Nanodomain coupling between Ca2+ channels and Ca2+ sensors promotes fast and efficient transmitter release at a cortical GABAergic synapse. Neuron 57:536-545.
  8. Bartos M, Vida I, Jonas P (2007) Synaptic mechanisms of synchronized gamma oscillations in inhibitory interneuron networks. Nature Reviews Neuroscience 8:45-56.
  9. Bischofberger J, Engel D, Li L, Geiger JRP, Jonas P (2006) Patch-clamp recording from mossy fiber terminals in hippocampal slices. Nature Protocols 1:2075-2081.
  10. Vida I, Bartos M, Jonas P (2006) Shunting inhibition improves robustness of gamma oscillations in hippocampal interneuron networks by homogenizing firing rates. Neuron 49:107-117.
  11. Engel D, Jonas P (2005) Presynaptic action potential amplification by voltage-gated Na+ channels in hippocampal mossy fiber boutons. Neuron 45:405-417.
  12. Schmidt-Hieber C, Jonas P, Bischofberger J (2004) Enhanced synaptic plasticity in newly generated granule cells of the adult hippocampus. Nature 429:184-187. +
  13. Martina M, Vida I, Jonas P (2000) Distal initiation and active propagation of action potentials in interneuron dendrites. Science 287:295-300.
  14. Jonas P, Bischofberger J, Sandkühler J (1998) Corelease of two fast neurotransmitters at a central synapse. Science 281:419-424.