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Developmental and Cellular Biology

The Developmental and Cellular Biology group at the LCSB

  • Front row from left to right: Daniele Ferrante, Jennifer Phan, Sarah Nickels, Raquel Forte Marques, Silvia Bolognin, Jens Schwamborn, Isabel Rosety, Gemma Gomez Giro, Arianna Minoia, Daniela Vega, Alise Žagare, Nathasia Muwanigw and, Daniela Frangenberg.
  • Back row from left to right: Michele Bassis, Kyriaki Barmpa, Sònia Sabate Soler, Matthieu Gobin, Claudia Saraiva, Elisa Zuccoli, Catarina Almeida, Graham Robertson, Javier Jarazo and Henry Kurniawan.

About the Developmental and Cellular Biology Group

In recent years, it has been accepted that Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a disorder which is not only characterised by a loss of dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra, but 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. 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. 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. Multiple of our projects are funded by the FNR and the European Commission.

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)