Jens Hjerling-Leffler Group

Our research group is interested in the genetic and cellular mechanisms of the postnatal development and function of the brain with a particular interest in the inhibitory system. We apply advanced mouse genetics in combination with electrophysiology and modern molecular methods.

Senior researcher

Jens Hjerling-Leffler

Phone: +46-(0)8-524 869 74
Organizational unit: Jens Hjerling Lefflers group

More information at


Neural diversity – function

Since the days of Ramon y Cajal we have known that the forebrain inhibitory system exhibits a stunning diversity. A major research effort has gone into characterizing the morphology, marker expression and electrophysiological properties of the interneurons (see Rudy et al 2011). With modern genetics we are starting to get a molecular handle on this diversity in order to functionally target individual cell classes with agents revealing their connectivity as well as either driving their activity or silencing them. We have recently identified a number of novel classes of interneurons and are studying their role in the local and long-range circuitry.

Neural diversity - stability

Knowing the transcriptional state of cells gives many clues how cell classes are related to each other but even with state of the art techniques the data remains as “snapshots” of individual cells and does not tell us how these profiles can change over time. We are interested in what aspects of cell transcription and function are stable over time and which parameter are variable in response to the environment of the cells.

Genetic mechanisms controlling the emergence of higher cognitive function

Ever wondered why it might be a bad idea to lend your car to a teenager? Why does many forms of neuropsychiatric disorders including Schizophrenia, depression and bipolar-disorder have a late onset, typically late teens - early twenties? The goal of our lab is to study the cellular changes that occur around or just after sexual maturation and which genetic programs that control these changes.

Research Group

Carolina Bengtsson GonzalesPhD student
Jens Hjerling-LefflerSenior researcher
Jose Martinez LopezPostdoc
Hermany Munguba VieiraGraduate Student
Ana Munoz ManchadoAssistant professor
Kasra NikoueiPhD student, Graduate Student
Nathan SkeneAssociated

Selected publications

Genetic identification of brain cell types underlying schizophrenia.
Skene N, Bryois J, Bakken T, Breen G, Crowley J, Gaspar H, et al
Nat. Genet. 2018 Jun;50(6):825-833

Disentangling neural cell diversity using single-cell transcriptomics.
Poulin J, Tasic B, Hjerling-Leffler J, Trimarchi J, Awatramani R
Nat. Neurosci. 2016 08;19(9):1131-41

Brain structure. Cell types in the mouse cortex and hippocampus revealed by single-cell RNA-seq.
Zeisel A, Muñoz-Manchado A, Codeluppi S, Lönnerberg P, La Manno G, Juréus A, et al
Science 2015 Mar;347(6226):1138-42

Novel Striatal GABAergic Interneuron Populations Labeled in the 5HT3a(EGFP) Mouse.
Muñoz-Manchado A, Foldi C, Szydlowski S, Sjulson L, Farries M, Wilson C, et al
Cereb. Cortex 2016 Jan;26(1):96-105

Three groups of interneurons account for nearly 100% of neocortical GABAergic neurons.
Rudy B, Fishell G, Lee S, Hjerling-Leffler J
Dev Neurobiol 2011 Jan;71(1):45-61