Research in the Department for Molecular and Cellular Neurobiology
The central nervous system is the most complex organ within the mammalian body consisting of billions of glial and neuronal cells and a tightly organized vascular system. The different cell types interact in various ways – an interplay that results in a highly specialized network. We are interested in the development and later - in the adult organism - the plasticity of the central nervous system with a focus on cell-to-cell communication between neurons and also between neurons and vascular or glial cell types. How do neurons develop, connect and communicate? Which proteome is contained in a synaptic vesicle? Which attractive or repulsive cues guide the outgrowth of axons? Which molecular mechanisms are shared by the nervous and vascular system? What are the signaling pathways governing these mechanisms? Which factors control proliferation, differentiation, migration, or survival of stem cells in the adult brain? We are also translating our knowledge to pathological situations such as the generation, growth, progression and vascularization of brain tumors. Understanding these physiological and pathological processes on a molecular level may allow for the development of therapeutic strategies in neurodegenerative disease and cancer.