Zelluläre und Molekulare Neurobiologie
Prof. Dr. Reinhard Köster
Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology
Tel: +49 531 391 3230
Fax: +49 531 391 8178
Expertise: Zebrafish Genetics – Disease Modeling - In vivo Imaging
Topics: Neuronal Migration – Neurodegeneration – Neuroregeneration
The transparent zebrafish embryo offers a powerful combination of genetics with in vivo imaging. By using the broad repertoire of molecular and genetic methods available in zebrafish, we try to dissect the underlying molecular network governing neuronal differentiation, homeostasis and regeneration directly in vivo.
We concentrate our research on the development, physiology and function of the zebrafish cerebellum. This crucial compartment of the vertebrate brain controls balance, body posture and locomotion - phenotypes that are easy to observe and analyze across vertebrates.
Pronounced neuronal migration is observed during cerebellar development making it a prime brain compartment to study cellular and molecular processes of neuronal cell motility. We try to elucidate on the cellular and subcellular level how migrating neuronal precursors initiate migration, interact with other cells, make pathfinding decisions, stop migration and adopt a specific fate.
Neurodegenerative diseases lead to severe neurological dysfunctions but their underlying cellular and molecular causes are poorly understood. We therefore aim to establish zebrafish disease models that are accessible for both in vivo monitoring of progressive neuronal degeneration and genetic modulation of disease-related processes for revealing entry sites to therapeutic treatment. As the development of the cerebellum, the underlying genetics, the histology, the neuronal connections and their physiology are highly conserved accross vertebrates, findings in zebrafish promise to hold true for mammals including humans.
Unlike mammals, zebrafish have an immense capacity to regenerate neuronal structures in any part of the central nervous system. In fact, the adult zebrafish cerebellum is characterized by pronounced neurogenesis and neuronal differentiation. This offers the unique chance to study neuronal regeneration processes in the vertebrate brain on the cellular and molecular level to identify mechanisms for triggering regeneration in the vertebrate brain. Therefore the Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology Group concentrates on the following three research areas: