Translational Parkinson Research

Prof. Dr. Björn Falkenburger

Areas of investigation/research focus

Basic Neurobiological Research

Parkinson's disease is characterized by degeneration of dopaminergic neurons and aggregates of the protein synuclein. In cellular models, we investigate the the mechanisms by which synuclein aggregates are degraded. Interventions that promote the degradation of synuclein aggregates in are validated in mouse models. In addition, we are investigating the consequences of chronic dopamine deficiency on postsynaptic neurons in the striatum, and biological effects of lipid metabolism.

Clinical Research

In the clinical trials unit, we are testing novel drugs and treatments for neurodegenerative diseases, in particular Parkinson's disease. Many of these studies are funded by industry, but we are also conducting our own trials. Based the focus of our basic research, we are particularly interested in the possibility to reduce synuclein pathology in patients.

To improve the evaluation of progression-modifying therapies and increase diagnostic confidence, we are working to establish new biomarkers. These include digital biomarkers as captured by motion sensors and cameras. In addition, we are working on aggregation assays that can detect synuclein pathology in patients. These can help select patients for synuclein-based therapies and potentially map their biological effects.

Finally, we are working on care medicine projects with the goal of providing more patients with access to established therapies and forstering patient involvement. These measures include the establishment of a school for people suffering from Parkinson's disease.

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