Zuzana Šišková, scientist in the group of Stefan Remy at the DZNE and the Department of Epileptology at the University Hospital of Bonn, received a Humboldt Research Fellowship for Postdoctoral Researchers. With the award, she will investigate how nerve cells change in disorders such as Alzheimer's disease. The Humboldt Foundation awards up to 100 Humboldt Research Fellowships annually to young scientists from outside Germany, to allow for a research stay at a German research institution for a period of 6-24 months. Stefan Remy, host of the fellowship, heads a research group investigating how nerve cells communicate and contribute to memory. From 2005 to 2007 he was Feodor Lynen Research Fellow of the Humboldt Foundation at the Northwestern University in Chicago,Illinois (USA).
Zuzana Šišková studied molecular biology and biotechnology in Slovakia and did her PhD in Groningen (Netherlands) and Calgary (Canada). Already during her doctoral studies and a subsequent research stay in Southampton (United Kingdom), Šišková addressed the question of how brain structures change in neuronal disorders. In the group of Remy, she will use electrophysiological methods to study the impact of changes at neural cell contacts on the function of nerve cells. “Changes in the synapses – the contact points between neurons – are the first signs of a neurodegenerative disease," says Šišková. "These changes lead to an impairment of neuronal signal transmission and this, in turn, can cause neuronal cell death.” A better understanding of these processes may contribute to the development of therapies to treat Alzheimer’s and other diseases already at early stages of the disorder.