Main Research Topics
My research team studies molecular mechanisms in neurons that result in structural circuit and network modifications. We ask which particular sets of proteins, signals and mechanisms do neurons use to rewire through the formation and elimination of synaptic contacts. (2) We investigate processes that strengthen and weaken preexisting synapses in neuronal networks. We ask how does the interplay and turnover of synaptic proteins regulate synaptic tagging, synaptic plasticity and synaptic homeostasis.
We study motor proteins (kinesins, dyneins and myosins) that transport protein cargo along microtubules and actin filaments, respectively. We focus on proteins of the postsynaptic density (AMPA receptors, GABA-A receptors, N-Cadherins, Neuroligins etc.) and ask which signals sort motor-cargo complexes to axons versus dendrites and deliver synaptic proteins to either excitatory or inhibitory synapses. Key questions are: (1) how is protein transport regulated through neuronal activity? (2) how do transport processes deliver plasticity-related proteins to tagged versus untagged synapses in synaptic plasticity?
Our research uses wildtype and disease mouses models to study cognitive performance in vivo. We generate transgenics, knock-in and knock-out mice to modify protein function in a mammalian system. We ask whether and how the loss-of-function of proteins affect exploration, anxiety, motor performance, learning and memory. In this respect we focus on synaptic proteins and trafficking factors to investigate cognition and to fight cognitive decline.
Dr. Andrea Barberis, Genova, Italy
Dr. Carsten Janke, Institut Curie, Orsay, France
Prof. Dr. Trevor G. Smart, London, UK
Prof. Dr. Antoine Triller, Paris, France
Prof. Dr. Hisashi Umemori, Ann Arbor, MI, USA
Dr. Ben Yee, Portland, OR, USA
Prof. Dr. Manfred Kilimann, Göttingen
Prof. Dr. Christine Klein, Lübeck
PD Dr. Joachim Kremerskothen, Münster
Prof. Dr. Thomas Misgeld, Munich
Prof. Dr. Klaus Nave, Göttingen
Prof. Dr. Hermann Schindelin, Würzburg