Tamas Freund has been involved for over 30 years in functional anatomical studies on cortical microcircuits, employing combinations of immunocytochemistry, electron micorscopy, in vitro and in vivo electrophysiology. His conceptually novel research uncovered: 1) new molecular pathways in the communication of nerve cells, 2) the identity and principles of connectivity of neurons that build up cortical circuitry, and 3) the generation of network activity patterns that underlie various stages of information processing and storage in the brain. He made significant discoveries regarding the structure and function of cortical microcircuits, with particular attention to their inhibitory components, and relationship to oscillations that underlie different stages of memory formation. He discovered that pacemaker neurons in the septal region are GABAergic, inhibitory, and selectively innervate GABAergic interneurons in the hippocampus, thereby synchronizing activity rhythmically at theta frequency. His results in the epilepsy field provided direct evidence for an early loss of inhibitory interneurons. His group discovered that CB1 cannabinoid receptors inhibit neurotransmitter release, and described the structure and operational principles of this circuit breaker in several brain regions. Even though his work is mostly considered basic research in the field of biomedical sciences, his results have considerable relevance to pharmaceutical and clinical research.
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Hajos N., Karlocai MR., Nemeth B., Ulbert I., Monyer H., Szabo G., Erdelyi F., Freund TF., Gulyas AI. (2013) Input-Output Features of Anatomically Identified CA3 Neurons during Hippocampal Sharp Wave/Ripple Oscillation In Vitro. J Neurosci., 33 (28):11677-11691.
Katona I., Freund TF. (2012) Multiple functions of endocannabinoid signaling in the brain. Annu Rev Neurosci., 35: 529-558.
Papp E., Borhegyi Z., Tomioka R., Rockland KS., Mody I., Freund TF. (2012) Glutamatergic input from specific sources influences the nucleus accumbens-ventral pallidum information flow. BrainStruct Func., 217 (1): 37-48.
Gulyas AI., Szabo GG., Ulbert I., Holderith N., Monyer H., Erdelyi F., Szabo G., Freund TF., Hajos N. (2010) Parvalbumin-containing fast-spiking basket cells generate the field potential oscillations induced by cholinergic receptor activation in the hippocampus. J Neurosci., 30 (45): 15134-15145.
Varga V., Losonczy A., Zemelman BV., Borhegyi Z., Nyiri G., Domonkos A., Hangya B., Holderith N., Magee JC., Freund TF. (2009) Fast synaptic subcortical control of hippocampal circuits. Science, 326 (5951): 449-453.
2012 Környei Memorial Award, University of Pécs, Környei Society
2011 The Brain Prize (Grete Lundbeck Foundation, Denmark)
2009 Pro Doctorandis Díj (Federation of Doctoral Students of Hungary)
2008 Prima Primissima Awards, Hungary: Prima Award in Science Category
2007 Kavli Distinguished International Scientist Lecture, Soc. for Neurosci. USA
2007 Scientists of the Year, Award of Science Writers Club of Hungary
2007 Semmelweis Award, Semmelweis Medical School, Budapest
2005 Széchenyi Prize, Hungarian Republic
2004 Regular Member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences
2003 Honoris Causa Pro Sciencia Gold Medal (Hungarian Academy of Sciences)
2001 Member of the German Academy of Sciences Leopoldina
2000 Member of Academia Scientiarum et Artium Europaea
2000 Bolyai Prize, Bolyai Prize Foundation, Hungary
2000 Member of Academia Europaea
1999 Ábrahám Ambrus Award, József Attila University, Szeged
1998 Corresponding Member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences
1998 Dargut and Milena Kemali Foundation Award, FENS Forum, Berlin
1997 Academy Award, Hungarian Academy of Sciences
1991 Winner of the Drs. C. and F. Demuth Swiss Medical Research Foundation Award, Switzerland
1991 Winner of the KRIEG CORTICAL KUDOS Cortical Explorer Award of the Cajal Club, USA (also in 1998)
Synaptic and molecular organization, functional architecture and physiology of neuronal circuits in the cerebral cortex and related structures, their changes underlying addiction or epileptic and ischemic brain damage, the mechanisms of endocannabinoid signaling and its relationship with anxiety