Dr Karri Lämsä

Wellcome Trust Career Development Fellow, MRC group Leader (from Oct 2013)
Inhibitory circuit dynamics in health and disease
Department  Department of Pharmacology
College No College

Research summary

Karri Lamsa

Key Research Areas

  • Synaptic plasticity in inhibitory circuits in hippocampal formation
  • Neuromodulation of inhibition
  • Neuropathology of identified GABAergic circuits in schizophrenia
  • Inhibitory circuit pathology in epilepsy

Sources of Funding

  • John Fell OUP Research Fund 2010- 2012
  • Wellcome Trust 2007- 2012
  • MRC 2012- 2015


Karri Lämsä graduated form the University of Helsinki, Finland receiving a BSc and MSc in Animal Physiology in 1995. He remained at the University of Helsinki and went on to get his PhD in Neurophysiology in 2000.His thesis investigated excitatory actions of the inhibitory synaptic neurotransmitter, GABA, in the brain. During this time he visited INSERM in Paris and worked with Professor Yehezekel Ben-Ari for six months concentrating on the role of GABA in spontaneous cortical activity during early postnatal development.


In 2002 he joined the laboratory of Professor Dimitri Kullmann at UCL, London for postdoctoral training as a Wellcome Trust Travelling Research Fellow. They discovered that pathway-specific lasting synaptic strengthening occurs at excitatory synapses which drive local inhibitory cells in hippocampus. In collaboration with Professor Peter Somogyi in the MRC Anatomical Neuropharmacology Unit in Oxford, they found that the plasticity at these synapses shows cell type-specificity. Dr Lämsä’s research group investigates regulation and dynamics of brain’s inhibitory GABAergic circuits. He joined the Department of Pharmacology in September 2007 as a Wellcome Trust Career Development Fellow.


  • Kathryn Newton, MRC Research Technician,
  • Wiebke Nissen, Postdoctoral Fellow,
  • Petrina Lau, DPhil Student,
  • Dimitrios Kotzadimitriou, MRC DPhil Student,
  • Diogo Rombo, PhD Student, Visitor, IMM, Lisbon, Portugal
  • Dr Lorenz Muller, Visitor, University of Rostock
  • Dr Alexander Kukalev, Visitor, King's College London, UK
  • Prof P Somogyi, MRC ANU, University of Oxford
  • Prof Ole Paulsen, Department of Physiology, Development & Neuroscience, University of Cambridge
  • Prof Paul Harrison, Department of Psychiatry, University of Oxford
  • Dr Liliana Minichiello, Deparment of Pharmacology, University of Oxford
  • Dr Pete Magill, MRC ANU, University of Oxford
  • Dr Jeff Mcilhinney, MRC ANU, University of Oxford
  • Dr Arjune Sen, Nuffield Department of Clinical Neuroscience, JR Hospital, Oxford
  • Prof Ana Sebastiao IMM, Lisbon, Portugal
  • Prof Rüdiger Köhling University of Rostock, Germany
  • Dr Veronica Yu King's College London, UK
  • Dr Bruno Cauli and Dr Bertrand Lambolez, CNRS, Université Pierre et Marie Curie, Paris, France