Areas of investigation/research focus
The major field of interest of the Storch group is the characterization and treatment of non-motor symptoms in movement disorders such as Parkinson’s disease and other motor system degenerative diseases such as Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). In focus are cognitive dysfunctions, which we study using learning and memory tests with functional and innovative morphological imaging methods.
We are interested in the development of regenerative therapies for Parkinson’s disease with focus on stem-cell based therapies. We employ fetal tissue-specific neural stem cells, adult neural stem cells and stem cells from bone marrow to determine their behavior and potential. We explore basic stem cell biology by examining stem cell proliferation and differentiation into functional dompaminergic neurons. In particular, mechanisms that govern proliferation and fate specification of predopaminergic precursor cells are investigated. Studying adult neurogenesis in healthy and diseased conditions should identify possible targets for endogenous regeneration. In vivo studies should improve targeted dopaminergic reinnervation of the diseased nigrostriatal pathway using biopolymer assisted transplantation for stem cells.