Our team of scientists

 

schema01Speaker of the GBM Studiengruppe Autophagie
Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Tassula Proikas-Cezanne

Professor of Molecular and Cell Biology
Group Leader
Department of Molecular Biology
Interfaculty Institute of Cell Biology
Eberhard Karls University Tübingen

Faculty Member
International Max Planck Research School (IMPRS) „From Molecules to Organisms“, Tübingen

Email: tassula.proikas-cezanne@uni-tuebingen.de

Homepage

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Main research interest:
Autophagy in Health, Disease and Longevity

Research interest in autophagy:
My research group has identified the human WIPI gene and protein family (WIPI1 to 4) and begun to establish their essential roles in autophagy. Our current work is focused on the spatio-temporal regulation of WIPI protein complexes in the process of stochastic and selective autophagy. We aim to target the autophagic activity in human diseases by modulating WIPI gene expression and WIPI protein function.

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Co-Speaker of the GBM Studiengruppe Autophagie
Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Michael Thumm

Professor of Molecular Cell Biology
Group Leader
Institute of Cellular Biochemistry
Georg August University Göttingen

Email: mthumm@uni-goettingen.de

Homepage

Main research interest:
Molecular mechanism of autophagy in S. cerevisiae

Research interest in autophagy:
Molecular mechanism of autophagy in S. cerevisiae

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Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Christian Behl


Professor of Biochemistry
Director of the Institute for Pathobiochemistry
Group Leader
University Medical Center of the
Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz

Email: cbehl@uni-mainz.de

Homepage:

Main research area:
Influence of aging on the development and progression of human neurodegenerative disorders, aiming to uncover novel approaches to stabilize neuronal function.
 
Research interest in autophagy:
Focus 1:
BAG3-mediated selective macroautophagy as a novel degradation pathway decomposing disease-associated protein aggregates.

Focus 2: Novel components determining cellular protein quality control are identified employing specific C.elegans reporter strains and RNAi libraries. Recently, we were able to characterize the RAB3GAP1/ RAB3GAP2 complex as a new essential factor of macroautophagy initiation.

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Dr. rer. nat. Petra Beli


Emmy Nother Group Leader
Institute of Molecular Biology (IMB), Mainz

Email: p.beli@imb-mainz.de

Homepage:

Main research interest:
Specificity in ubiquitin signaling, regulation of the cellular response to DNA damage, mass spectrometry-based proteomics
 
Research interest in autophagy:
We are interested in the role of selective autophagy in the regulation of the cellular response to DNA damage

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Dr. rer. nat. Christian Behrends


Emmy Noether Group Leader
Institute of Biochemistry II
Medical School Goethe University, Frankfurt am Main

Email: behrends@biochem2.de

Homepage

Main research area:
Regulation of autophagy in health and disease
 
Research interest in autophagy:
Functional dissection of the autophagy interaction network, xenophagy and bacterial avoidance, exploiting autophagy for anticancer drug targets, role of ubiquitin networks in autophagy, spatio-temporal regulation of protein complexes by ATG8 proteins

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Dr. rer. nat. Ralf Braun


Akademischer Rat auf Zeit
Institute of Cell Biology
University of Bayreuth

Email: ralf.braun@uni-bayreuth.de

Homepage

Main research area:
We are using Saccharomyces cerevisiae models for several neurodegenerative disorders, including Alzheimer’s disease, frontotemporal dementia and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Heterologous expression of human proteins implicated in these disorders triggers cytotoxicity and imbalances in proteostasis and mitochondrial homeostasis. We aim at dissecting how proteolytic pathways and mitochondrial function are implicated in the execution or prevention of cytotoxicity of disease-associated proteins.
 
Research interest in autophagy:
We analyze how vacuolar pathways, including (macro-)autophagy and endocytosis/multivesicular body pathway, are implicated in the clearance and detoxification of human proteins causative for neurodegenerative disorders.

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Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Jörn Dengjel


Group Leader
Proteomics
Center for Biological Systems Analysis
Freiburg Institute for Advanced Studies
School of Life Sciences – LifeNet
Albert Ludwings University Freiburg

Email: joern.dengjel@medizin.uni-freiburg.de

Homepage

Main research area:
Description of spatio-temporal protein dynamics during autophagy
 
Research interest in autophagy:
Identification of human proteins related to autophagy; global protein dynamics during long-term starvation to characterize the influence of different types of autophagy on the cellular proteome; comparing signaling events involved in autophagy and in type I programmed cell death pathways (apoptosis) using a quantitative phosphoproteomics approach.

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Prof. Dr. Ivan Dikic, MD, PhD


Professor and Chairman of the Institute of Biochemistry 2
Founding Director of the Buchmann Institute for Molecular Life Sciences
Group Leader
Goethe University Medical School Frankfurt am Main

Email: dikic@biochem2.uni-frankfurt.de

Homepage

Main research area:
Role of ubiquitin (Ub) as a multivalent cellular signal in the regulation of DNA repair, inflammation, cancer, infection, receptor endocytosis, and proteasomal degradation. The current interests focus on the role of ubiquitin in selective autophagy, which is essential for the clearance of protein aggregates, pathogens, and damaged mitochondria from the cell.
 
Research interest in autophagy:
Our group is currently interested in the discovery of novel autophagy receptors important for selectivity of cargo delivery, as well as delivery and fusion of mature autophagosomes to the lysosomes.

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Prof. Dr. Ludwig Eichinger


Centre for Biochemistry
Medical Faculty
University of Cologne

Email: ludwig.eichinger@uni-koeln.de

Homepage

Main research interests:
The cellular response of Dictyostelium discoideum to stress.
 
Research interest in autophagy:
We analyse the molecular mechanism of autophagy in D. discoideum. In particular we are interested in the role of autophagy in host-pathogen interactions, in the link between autophagy and the proteasome and in non-autophagic functions of core autophagy proteins.

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Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Stefan Eimer


Professor of Structural Cell Biology
Group Leader
Center for Biological Signalling Studies (BIOSS)
Institute of Biology III
Albert Ludwigs University Freiburg

Email: S.Eimer@eni-g.de

Homepage

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Dr. Ian Gentle


Group Leader
Institut für Medizinische Mikrobiologie und Hygiene
Universitäts Klinikum Freiburg

Email: ian.gentle@uniklinik-freiburg.de

Homepage

Main research interests:
Regulation of Toll Like Receptor and TNF Family Receptor signalling and their activation of cell death and inflammation.

Research interest in autophagy:
We are interested in how Autophagy may play a role in helping to silence or dampen signals generated from immune receptors. A number of receptors of innate and adaptive immunity can form very large signalling platforms to regulate the outcome of their activation. Depending on the stimulus activation of TLRs and TNF family receptors can lead to inflammation and or cell death. We are interested in the role autophagy plays in silencing these signalling platforms.

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Dr. rer. nat. Martin Graef


Group Leader
Max Planck Institute for Biology of Aging, Cologne

Email: Martin.Graef@age-mpg.de

Homepage

Main research area:
Our main research area addresses the questions of how do eukaryotic cells regulate or fine-tune the extent of their autophagy response and what cellular processes affect their autophagy capacity in health and disease as well as during ageing.

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Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Jörg Höhfeld


Professor for Molecular Cell Biology
Group Leader
Institute for Cell Biology
University of Bonn

Email: hoehfeld@uni-bonn.de

Homepage:

Main research area:
My lab is interested in the role of molecular chaperones during protein homeostasis in higher eukaryotes.
 
Research interest in autophagy:
We have recently identified chaperone-assisted selective autophagy (CASA) as a degradation pathway essential for muscle proteostasis and the maintenance of the actin cytoskeleton in mechanical strained mammalian cells. The pathway is induced by the cochaperone BAG3, which coordinates a chaperone complex during the ubiquitin-dependent targeting of misfolded proteins towards autophagic degradation.

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Dr. rer. nat. Roswitha Krick


Akademische Rätin auf Zeit
Institute of Cellular Biochemistry
Georg August University Göttingen

Email: rkrick@gwdg.de

Homepage:

Main research area:
The main research area of my group is the molecular mechanism of autophagosome biogenesis in the yeast S. cerevisiae. S. cerevisiae is successfully used as model organism to study autophagy and lead to the identification of approximately 40 autophagy-related genes (ATG).
 
Research interest in autophagy:
One of the central open questions in the autophagic field is the source of the membranes required for autophagosomes formation. In S. cerevisiae, vesicles containing the transmembrane protein Atg9 deliver only part of the required membrane surface from the Golgi to the PAS. Recent data show that forming autophagosomes are linked to the endoplasmic exit sites (ERES), where COPII transport vesicles are generated, that might serve as membrane source or platform for the generation of autophagosome. Therefore, additional lipid sources must be still unknown and are focus of my interest.

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Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Heinz D. Osiewacz


Professor of Molecular Developmental Biology
Group Leader
Institute of Molecular Biosciences
Faculty of Biosciences
Goethe University Frankfurt am Main

Email: osiewacz@bio.uni-frankfurt.de

Homepage:

Main research area:
We are working on the molecular mechanisms controlling organismic aging using the established fungal aging model Podospora anserina. In this system aging has a strong mitochondrial etiology. A number of mitochondrial pathways effect aging and lifespan. Among these pathways we recently identified autophagy as a longevity assurance pathway. We currently investigate the molecular basis of autophagy in P. anserina and the interaction of autophagy with other mitochondrial quality control pathways (e.g. mitochondrial dynamics, proteolysis).

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Dr. Kathrin Pallauf


Postdoctoral scientist
Rimbach laboratory
Institute of Human Nutrition and Food Science
University of Kiel

Email: pallauf@foodsci.uni-kiel.de

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Dr. rer. nat. Carsten Sachse


Group Leader
EMBL
Structural and Computational Biology Unit
Heidelberg

Email: carsten.sachse@embl.de

Homepage:

Main research area:
The Sachse group uses electron cryomicroscopy (cryo-EM) to study the structures of autophagy complexes to elucidate the mechanisms by which cells degrade large molecular cargo.

Research interest in autophagy:
We aim to establish a comprehensive mechanistic understanding of selective autophagy. Three-dimensional structures of autophagy complexes will help to further our understanding how cargo is recognized by specific receptors and how they contribute to the forming autophagosome.

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Prof. Dr. med. Liliane Schäfer


Professor of Pharmacology
Group Leader
pharmazentrum frankfurt
Institute of Clinical Pharmacology
Goethe University Frankfurt am Main

E-mail: Schaefer@med.uni-frankfurt.de

Homepage

Main research area:
Dr. Schaefer laboratory has investigated the role of the two small leucine-rich proteoglycans (SLRPs), decorin and biglycan, in acute inflammation, innate immunity and renal fibrosis. She has made significant contributions to the field of innate immunity by discovering that both SLRPs, when in soluble form in the blood and body fluids, can act as endogenous “danger” signals and thus directly involved in modulating the activity of Toll-like receptors.
 
Research interest in autophagy:
Regulation of selective autophagy in pathogen-induced and sterile inflammation

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Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Ingo Schmitz


Professor
Group Leader
AG System-orientierte Immunologie und Entzündungsforschung (SIME)
Institute of Molecular and Clinical Immunology
Otto-von-Guericke-University Magdeburg and
Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung Brauschweig

Email: ingo.schmitz@helmholtz-hzi.de

Homepage

Main research area:
My lab is interest in signal transduction mechanisms regulating apoptosis, autophagy and NF-kB in the immune system.
 
Research interest in autophagy:
Regulation of autophagy by post-translational modification of ATG5 and ATG5's function in immune cells.

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Dr. rer. nat. Sebastian Schuck


Group Leader
CellNetworks Member
Center of Molecular Biology at the University of Heidelberg (ZMBP)

Email: s.schuck@zmbh.uni-heidelberg.de

Homepage

Main research area:
We would like to understand how cells maintain organelle homeostasis, using the yeast endoplasmic reticulum (ER) as an example. We investigate how the unfolded protein response, ER-associated degradation and ER-phagy cooperate to control ER size and maintain ER function during stress.
 
Research interest in autophagy:
While interested in autophagy in general, we focus on ER-phagy, the selective autophagy of the ER. In yeast, the ER can be selectively targeted by both macroautophagy and microautophagy, giving rise to macro-ER-phagy and micro-ER-phagy. Micro-ER-phagy does not require the known core autophagy machinery but must rely on novel molecular machinery that we are aiming to identify.

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Dr. rer. nat. Andrea Scrima


Group Leader
Helmhoz Centre for Infection Research
Braunschweig

Email: Andrea.Scrima@helmholtz-hzi.de

Homepage

Main research area:
Unraveling molecular mechanisms of pathogen recognition/clearance and autophagy-evasion. Further research topics include mechanisms of bacterial adhesion, antimicrobial molecules and transcriptional regulation during infection.
 
Research interest in autophagy:
Our research focuses on the characterization of central mechanisms of autophagy regulation, the molecular mechanism of pathogen recognition, as well as pathogenic evasion and autophagy modulation mechanisms. Using X-ray crystallography, complemented with proteomics, biochemical/biophysical and infection/cell biological methods, we aim at gaining a detailed understanding of molecular processes in infection and pathogen clearance.

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PD Dr. rer. nat. Björn Stork


Privatdozent
Group Leader
Institute of Molecular Medicine I
University Hospital Düsseldorf

Email: bjoern.stork@uni-duesseldorf.de

Main research area:
Signal transduction of autophagy; Crosstalk between cell fate decisions (autophagy, apoptosis, cellular senescence, regulated necrosis); Understanding and overcoming therapy resistance by the modulation of autophagy
 
Research interest in autophagy:
Signal transduction of the ULK1/2-ATG13-FIP200-ATG101 complex (regulation by posttranslational modifications; assembly of the complex; substrates); Signal transduction of the VPS34/VPS15/BECN1 complex
Transcriptional control of autophagy

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Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Kathrin Thedieck


Professor of Metabolic Signaling
Group Leader
European Medical School (EMS), Universities of Groningen (NL) and Oldenburg (D)

Email: kathrin.thedieck@uni-oldenburg.de

Main research area:
Our research focuses on the control of metabolic homeostasis by the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR). A major focus is on the crosstalk of mTOR kinase with other cancer signaling and stress networks. The mTOR interactome and the encompassing signaling network are analyzed by biochemical methods, proteomics and cell biology. Systems biology and medicine approaches are adopted to unravel novel regulatory connections within the mTOR network and to make them applicable for cancer therapy.
 
Research interest in autophagy:
We study autophagy control by mTOR in the context of its crosstalk with other signaling networks and stress granule formation.

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Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Christian Ungermann


Professor of Biochemistry
Speaker of the SFB 944 (Cellular Microcompartments)
University of Osnabrück

Email: Christian.Ungermann@biologie.uni-osnabrueck.de

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Main research area:
We are interested in the maturation of organelles prior to their fusion with the lysosome, and concentrate here on yeast as a model system. Our main focus are the activation and turn-over of Rab GTPases and their interacting effectors on endosomes and lysosomes in the context of fusion and organelle contact sites.

Research interest in autophagy:
As fusion of autophagosomes also require maturation steps prior to their fusion competence with lysosomes, we are interested in the control of the maturation and dissection of the steps of selected fusion.

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Univ.-Prof. Dr. Dieter Willbold


Director
Institut für Physikalische Biologie
Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf

Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH
Institute of Complex Systems

Email: D.Willbold@fz-juelich.de or dieter.willbold@uni-duesseldorf.de

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Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Konstanze F. Winklhofer


Professor and Chair of the Molecular Cell Biology Department
Group Leader
Institute of Biochemistry and Pathobiochemistry
Ruhr-University Bochum

Email: konstanze.winklhofer@ruhr-uni-bochum.de

Homepage

Main research area:
Mechanisms of neurotoxicity and neuroprotection; nerve growth factor halts mitochondrial degeneration in a model of Parkinson's disease; deciphering and exploiting the neuroprotective activity of parkin.

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Dr. rer. nat. Thomas Wollert


Group Leader
Max Planck Institute for Biochemistry
Munich

Email: wollert@biochem.mpg.de

Homepage

Main research area:
Revealing molecular mechanisms in membrane trafficking by in vitro reconstitutions.

Research interest in autophagy:
Reconstituting critical steps of autophagy from purified components on model membranes in vitro. We are particularly interested in proteins of the autophagic core machinery. Our aim is to recapitulate the biogenesis of autophagosomes step by step in vitro to eventually produce autophagosomes in the test tube from donor membranes.

 

Our undergraduate students

 

Eberhard Karls University Tuebingen

Meetings in the summer semester 2016: 01./15./29. April 2016, 13./27.May 2016, 10./08./22.July 2016 – 15:oo to 17:00 pm – Interfaculty Institute of Cell Biology, 1. floor, room 1.034, Auf der Morgenstelle 15, 72076 Tuebingen.

Tabea Burkhard
Subject: Biology (B.Sc. )
Tayfun Er
Subject: Biology (B.Sc. )
Miriam Frewer
Subject: Biology (B.Sc. )
Simon Grzybowsky
Subject: Biology (B.Sc. )
Leandra Haas
Subject: Biology (B.Sc. )
IMG_1739IMG_1738IMG_1734IMG_1732IMG_1736
Maximilian Haas
Subject: Biology (B.Sc. )
Lisbeth Hasler
Subject: Biology (B.Ed.)
Sonja Hülskämper
Subject: Biology (B.Sc. )
Mustafa Karic
Subject: Biology (B.Ed.)
Franziska Klein
Subject: Biology (B.Sc. )
IMG_1730IMG_1733IMG_1740IMG_1737IMG_1742
Nadia Leonidou
Subject: Bioinf. (B.Sc.)
Damaris Mayer
Subject: Biology (B.Ed.)
Ann-Kathrin Reutter
Subject: Biology (B.Sc. )
Anna Würth
Subject: Biology (B.Sc. )
NadiaIMG_1741IMG_1728IMG_1735