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Developmental and Cellular Biology

The Developmental and Cellular Biology group at the LCSB
First row from left to right: Thea van Wüllen, Silvia Bolognan, Kathrin Hemmer, Antoine Treff. Second row from left to right: Sarah Nicklas, Marie Fossépré, Gemma Gomez, Lisa Smits, Anna Monzel, Isabel Rosety, Javier Jarazo. Third row from left to right: Jonas Walter, Philippe Lucarelli, Prof. Jens Schwamborn, Sarah Nickels, Emmanuel Berger.

About the Developmental and Cellular Biology Group

Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a progressive neurodegenerative disease. In recent years it has been accepted that PD is a disorder which is not only characterised by a loss of dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra, but probably also has a strong neuro-developmental aspect.

The aim of our research is to understand, model and treat Parkinson’s disease. Particularly, we are interested in elucidating how developmental processes contribute to the susceptibility to suffer from Parkinson’s.  Stem cells, either neural stem cells or pluripotent stem cells, are in the centre of most of our research approaches. We use these cells to generate advanced in vitro disease models, including three-dimensional brain organoids, which shall help us to understand the cellular and molecular processes underlying disease onset and progression. Additionally, we are aiming at further developing these models to be able to (at least partially) replace animal experiments with advanced human in vitro disease models. Furthermore, these models represent an additional step in the direction of personalized medicine approaches.

Concerning the molecular processes we are particularly interested in linking the molecular function of PD associated proteins with cell cycle progression, protein aggregation and mitochondrial / lysosomal function.

Additionally, to PD we are also working on Battens disease / Neuronal Ceroid-Lipofuscinosis (NCL), which is a childhood neurodegenerative disease.

Our research projects involve the work with human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) and neural stem cell culture systems as well as three-dimensional brain organoid models. Additionally we use classical biochemistry/molecular biology methods, systems biology tools as well as advanced imaging methods.

Head of Team

Prof. Dr. Jens Schwamborn (LCSB)