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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

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 PD. Particularly, we are interested in elucidating how developmental processes contribute to the susceptibility to suffer from PD. Human stem cells, either neural stem cells or pluripotent stem cells, are in the centre of all of our research approaches. We use these cells to generate advanced in vitro disease models, including three-dimensional brain organoids (so called “mini-brains”), which shall help us to understand the cellular and molecular processes underlying disease onset and progression. By further developing these models, we will at least partially be able to replace animal experiments and to take an additional step in the direction of personalised medicine. 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. Multiple projects are funded by the FNR.

The Developmental and Cellular Biology group is currently part of the following consortia: the NanoPD Team and CONNECT.

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Head of Team

Prof. Dr. Jens Schwamborn (LCSB)