Sigurdsson Lab

Longe-range circuits supporting cognition in health and disease

Group Leader

Dr. Torfi Sigurdsson


What we do

Scientific Focus

Our group is interested in the neural mechanisms supporting cognition and goal-directed behavior in both health and disease. Specifically, we want to understand how neural activity is coordinated within networks of brain regions in order to guide intelligent behavior, and how such inter-areal coordination breaks down in neuropsychiatric illness.

In this respect, we are particularly focused on the role of inter-areal networks consisting of the prefrontal cortex and its associated cortical and subcortical structures.

To investigate such networks, we perform large-scale multi-site electrophysiological recordings, calcium imaging and optogenetic manipulations in mice performing behavioral tasks involving memory and decision-making. We also use these techniques to study mice that model risk factors for psychiatric illness in an effort to understand how such risk factors perturb brain function.


  • Electrophysiological recordings
  • Microendoscopic calcium imaging
  • Optogenetic manipulations
  • Behavioral assessment of cognitive function
  • Animal models of psychiatric illness
  • Analysis of high-dimensional neuronal and behavioral datasets


Johannes Hahn

PhD student (IMPRS)

Nicole Saviola D’Souza

PhD student

    • Hanganu-Opatz IL, Klausberger T, Sigurdsson T, Nieder A, Jacob SN, Bartos M, Sauer J-F, Durstewitz D, Leibold C, Diester I (2023) Resolving the prefrontal mechanisms of adaptive cognitive behaviors: A cross-species perspective. Neuron 111:1020–1036. (all authors contributed equally).
    • Vogel P, Hahn J, Duvarci S, Sigurdsson T (2022) Prefrontal pyramidal neurons are critical for all phases of working memory. Cell Reports 39:110659.
    • Babl SS, Rummell BP, Sigurdsson T (2019) The Spatial Extent of Optogenetic Silencing in Transgenic Mice Expressing Channelrhodopsin in Inhibitory Interneurons. Cell Reports 29:1381–1395.e4.
    • Salinas-Hernández XI, Vogel P, Betz S, Kalisch R, Sigurdsson T, Duvarci S (2018) Dopamine neurons drive fear extinction learning by signaling the omission of expected aversive outcomes. Elife 7 Available at:
    • Duvarci S, Simpson EH, Schneider G, Kandel ER, Roeper J* and Sigurdsson T* (2018) Impaired recruitment of dopamine neurons during working memory in a mouse model of striatal D2 receptor overexpression. Nature Communications 9: 2822. (*co-last author)
    • Sigurdsson T (2016) Neural circuit dysfunction in schizophrenia: Insights from animal models. Neuroscience 321:42–65.
    • Rummell BP, Klee JL, Sigurdsson T (2016) Attenuation of Responses to Self-Generated Sounds in Auditory Cortical Neurons. Journal of Neuroscience 36:12010–12026.
    • Sigurdsson T, Duvarci S (2015) Hippocampal-Prefrontal Interactions in Cognition, Behavior and Psychiatric Disease. Frontiers in Systems Neuroscience 9:190.
    • O’Neill P-K, Gordon JA, Sigurdsson T (2013) Theta oscillations in the medial prefrontal cortex are modulated by spatial working memory and synchronize with the hippocampus through its ventral subregion. Journal of Neuroscience 33:14211–14224.
    • Burghardt NS, Sigurdsson T, Gorman JM, McEwen BS, LeDoux JE (2013) Chronic antidepressant treatment impairs the acquisition of fear extinction. Biological Psychiatry 73:1078–1086.
    • Sigurdsson T, Stark KL, Karayiorgou M, Gogos JA, Gordon JA (2010) Impaired hippocampal-prefrontal synchrony in a genetic mouse model of schizophrenia. Nature 464:763–767.
    • Sigurdsson T, Sigurdsson T, Cain CK, Doyère V, LeDoux JE (2010) Asymmetries in long-term and short-term plasticity at thalamic and cortical inputs to the amygdala in vivo. European Journal of Neuroscience 31:250–262.
    • Adhikari A, Sigurdsson T, Topiwala MA, Gordon JA (2010) Cross-correlation of instantaneous amplitudes of field potential oscillations: a straightforward method to estimate the directionality and lag between brain areas. Journal of Neuroscience Methods 191:191–200.
    • Sigurdsson T, Doyère V, Cain CK, LeDoux JE (2007) Long-term potentiation in the amygdala: a cellular mechanism of fear learning and memory. Neuropharmacology 52:215–227.