AG Molecular and Behavioural Neurobiology
Most psychiatric disorders are caused by a complex interplay of genetic and environmental risk factors. The interaction of these risk factors is not yet understood but it is widely accepted that unlucky combinations have a negative impact on the development of the brain. Recent findings suggests that there is a high level of overlap in the genetic architecture between Schizophrenia, Bipolar Disorder and Major Depression. In addition, the identification of population-independent risk genes belonging to the class of transcription factors, signaling components, ion channels and neurotransmitter receptors that ‘cross clinical disorder boundaries’ has provided evidence that subtle changes in common pathways underly the neurodevelopmental alterations associated with psychiatric diseases. The function of these genes in the developing central nervous system and the mature brain is largely unknown.
In the laboratory of Molecular and Behavioral Neurobiology we apply molecular, biochemical and cell-biological methods to study the function of risk genes and pathway associated with psychiatric diseases. Towards this goal we make use of genetic mouse models and patient-derived stemcell models. In parallel, we develop molecular biosensors with which we can study the function of individual risk genes or pathways and which enable us to screen for pharmacological compounds to rescue cellular disease profiles.
To validate the efficacy of in vitro identified compounds, we perform preclinical treatment trials with genetic mouse models. Beyond behavioral readouts, we apply different molecular techniques and host the corresponding technical infrastructure for other groups of the department.
Understanding molecular mechanisms of selected schizophrenia risk genes in cell culture and mouse models
- Development of target-based and pathway-centric assays in living cells to identify genetic and chemical modulators of neuropsychiatric signalling pathways
- Dr. Sven Wichert, MSc, Leitung ->link FE Analytik und Robotik
- Dr. Sabrina Galinski, MSc, Leitung ->link Projektgruppe Stammzellen
- Dr. Alexander Herholt, MSc, Neurobiologie, PostDoc
- Nirmal Kannayian, MSc, Bioinformatik, Doktorand
- Vivek Kumar Sahoo, MSc, Molekularbiologie, Doktorand
- Marius Stephan, MSc, Molekular- und Verhaltensbiologie, Doktorand