Our lab focuses on the functional analysis of disease-relevant genes and factors. To facilitate the characterization of gene function and the dissection of entire genetic pathways, our working horse is the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans (C. elegans). In addition, we use yeast and cell culture models to answer specific questions whenever it is advantageous. Biochemical analyses and pharmacological assays to test chemical interference with protein function are performed to understand, in addition to the genetic details, the precise role of a protein and its physical interactions in a living organism.
So far, all of the mechanisms that we have identified using C. elegans models have been shown to be remarkably similar in the mammalian organism, and have helped a lot to understand the biological function of the human gene that is dysfunctional in disease.
We currently use disease models of degenerative diseases of the nervous system and the musculature (Parkinson, Alzheimer, Ceroidlipofuscinosis NCL, muscular dystrophies), and the genetic control of aging. We recently also contributed to a molecular understanding of bacterial infection and the role of intestinal transport of nutrients (see the lab publication list for more details).
The lab is funded by grants from:
The State of Baden-Württemberg 'Qualitätsoffensiveprogramm'
The lab is founding member of ZBSA, the Center for Systems Biology funded by the State of Baden-Württemberg.
The German Research Council (DFG Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft)
SFB 592 Signal transduction in embryogenesis and organogenesis
SFB 746 Funktionelle Spezifität durch Kopplung und Modifikation von Proteinen
SFB 780 Synaptische Mechanismen neuronaler Netzwerkfunktion
BMBF (Federal Ministry of Education and Research), National Network for Genome Research
FRISYS: Freiburg Initiative for Systems Biology
NGFN2 Exploratives Projekt 31P3644 Microarray Validierung von kardiovaskulären Risokofaktoren
Collaborations with the Pharmaceutical Industry
GRAKO 1104 From cells to organs: Molecular mechanisms of Organogenesis
GRAKO 843 Mechanisms of Neuronal Signaltransduction: from Protein to Network
SGBM Spemann Graduate School of Biology and Medicine
FRIAS - Freiburg Initiative of Advanced Studies
BIOSS - Centre for Studies of biological signalling
IMPRS-MCB - International Max Planck Research School for Molecular and Cellular Biology
In addition, we are scouting lab for the SCIENCE of Aging Knowledge Environment (SAGE KE) and advisor of the private foundation National Contest for Life (NCL) fighting hereditary neurodegenerative diseases of childhood.