Molecular and Systems Neurobiology Group

Molecular and Systems Neurobiology Group

Research topics

Our research is guided by the hypothesis that brain regulation of behavior can be understood at the molecular level. This requires an understanding of the function of networks that regulate behaviors and then an analysis of appropriate brain areas at the molecular level. Due to the methodological development in neuroscience, we have network analysis technologies that can be used to elucidate the pattern of brain activity that correlates with behavioral elements, and we can also use genetic methods to selectively manipulate neuronal activities. Neurons that are key in a given behavior are analyzed at the molecular level using RNA sequencing. This allows us to intervene precisely when necessary, for example in diseases. The first step is to identify the drug target protein and then influence its function with drugs.


Our RNA sequencing results suggest that androgen receptor levels decrease in the preoptic area of the mother, and pharmacological inhibition of the receptor further increases the intensity of maternal behavior.


In our research, we primarily examine social behaviors. These are complex behaviors, involving multimodal processing of stimuli from conspecifics and also generally complex responses. In our research, we often work with a relatively simple model system when examining maternal behaviors. The behavioral repertoire of pups is limited, and the mother animal also focuses on the instinctive behaviors required for offspring care. Yet, the findings made in this model system can be generalized to more complex social situations. One of our significant results in this field is that medial preoptic neurons are activated by pups, and their experimental chemogenetic stimulation increases the intensity of maternal care behaviors. At the same time, depression-like behavior appears, which may be the cause of maternal depression.


In addition to parental behaviors, we also examine adult-adult social behaviors. In the case of rodents, these can be divided into several groups, such as reproductive, cooperative, or aggressive behaviors, the underlying brain mechanisms of which are also the subject of our research. In addition to normal species-specific social behaviors, disease-specific alterations may also appear, which we examined in different neuropsychiatric diseases. In this extension of our work, we identify drug targets, from which new types of drugs can be developed for depression and autism spectrum disorder. One currently examined drug target is the parathyroid hormone 2 receptor, which has been shown to play a role in depression.


Scientific contacts

Árpád Dobolyi submitted proposals in international cooperation with the following foreign researchers during 2018-2021:

  1. Prof. Suhel Parvez-zel (Department of Toxicology and In-Charge, Centre for Translational and Clinical Research, India)
  2. Prof Valery Grinevich-csel (Department of Neuropeptide Research in Psychiatry, Central Institute of Mental Health, University of Heidelberg, Németország)
  3. Prof. Natasa Jovanov-val (University of Zagreb, School of Medicine, Horvátország)

Other foreign researchers with whom Árpád Dobolyi had collaborations resulting in joint publications during 2018-2021:

  • Parasuraman Padmanabhan,  Cognitive Neuroimaging Centre (CoNiC), Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore-636921
  • Frank Jordan, Department of Chemistry, Rutgers University, Newark, NJ 07102‑1811, USA
  • Tamás Székely, Bath University, UK
  • Spyros Batzios, Department of Paediatric Metabolic Medicine, Great Ormond Street Hospital, London, UK
  • Lambertus P. van den Heuvel, Department of Pediatrics, Radboud University Medical Centre, Nijmegen, The Netherlands
  • Ronald J.A. Wanders, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands
  • Dimitrios Zafeiriou 1st Department of Pediatrics, Aristotle University, Thessaloniki, Greece
  • Larry J Young, Emory University, Atlanta, USA
  • Gian Luca Scuderi, Ophthalmology Unit, NESMOS Department, Sant'Andrea Hospital, Faculty of Medicine and Psychology, "Sapienza" University of Rome, Italy
  • Mari Carmen Gomez-Cabrera, Department of Physiology, University of Valencia, Spain
  • Katsuhiro Suzuki, Faculty of Sport Sciences, Waseda University, Tokorozawa, Japan
  • Joanna H. Sliwowska, Laboratory of Neurobiology, Institute of Zoology, Poznan University of Life Sciences, Poznan, Poland

Lead researchers with whom the group has scientific collaborations:

  • Hangya Balázs, ELKH KOKI
  • Fekete Csaba, ELKH KOKI
  • Tóth Attila, ELTE
  • Varró Petra, ELTE
  • Tárnok Krisztián, ELTE
  • Varga Máté, ELTE
  • Grinevich Valery, Heidelberg University
  • Palkovits Miklós, Semmelweis Egyetem
  • Zelena Dóra, ELKH KOKI
  • Chinopoulos Christos, Semmelweis Egyetem
  • Reglődi Dóra, Pécsi Tudományegyetem
  • Alpár Alán, Semmelweis Egyetem
  • Héja László, ELKH TTK
  • Schlett Katalin, ELTE
  • Andics Attila, ELTE
  • Lőw Péter, ELTE
  • Usdin B. Ted, NIH, USA
  • Zachar Gergely, Semmelweis Egyetem