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Research in the laboratory focuses on understanding the cellular and molecular mechanisms of synapse (dys)function.

-Keeping the synapse in shape: Local protein removal -

Brain function relies on neurotransmission at synapses, where fast increases in calcium trigger the fusion of synaptic vesicles and release of their neurotransmitters. Synapses maintain their molecular composition and function through a concerted action of protein synthesis and degradation. Our research group aims to understand how old, dysfunctional synaptic components are removed to keep synapses functional over long periods of time.

-The organization and function of the neuronal ER –

 The neuronal endoplasmic reticulum (ER) extends for hundreds of microns as a huge network throughout the highly branched neurites and even into synapses. ER tubules serve important functions in regulating membrane proteins, lipids and calcium levels. We are interested in how the tubular ER, and its associated proteins, contributes to synapse function.


-Early changes in Parkinson's disease –

Alpha-synuclein is an abundant neuronal protein and a key protein involved in the development of Parkinson's disease. We study how early aggregation of this protein can disturb cellular processes, such as communication at synapses.



Fundamental information on mechanisms of intracellular degradation and organelle organization will not only help us to understand how individual synapses work, it may also lead to insights on the role of these particular processes in neurodegenerative diseases.

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