Cooperation Unit Translational studies and biomarker
Prof. Dr. Inga Zerr
Leader Cooperation Unit
Robert-Koch-Str. 40
37075 Göttingen

inga.zerr@dzne.de
 +49 551 39-66636

Areas of investigation/research focus

The main research interests include Genomics leading to Proteomics and interactomics based techniques within deeper understanding of molecular mechanisms and post-translational modifications by regulating the function and translocation of proteins involved in Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, degenerative dementia, Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease (CJD) diseases. The main projects are,

  1. Role of epigenetic mechanisms in prion diseases. To ascertain the main molecular mechanism/s contributing to the neurodegenerative process, we pursue to investigate the role epigenetic modifiers (mainly smalRNAs and methylation) and other transcriptional regulationary events such as RNA-editing in the pathogenesis of prion diseases and other rapid progressive dementias.
  2. Neuroinflammation as a key molecular switch in neurodegenerative dementia. Causative agents of neurodegeneration have yet to been fully identified. Our studies are focused on identifications and the understanding of the complex mixtures of pro- and anti-inflammatory responses.
  3. Development of an in vitro amplification assay for misfolded proteins in neurodegenerative diseases. We developed in-vitro protein amplification systems for the detection of misfolded PrPSc in human cerebrospinal fluid of human prion diseases.
  4. Proteome based disease specific signature in neurodegenerative diseases. We established proteomics based analysis to ascertain the main risk modifiers and disease signatures, to better understand the underlying disease mechanisms contributing to the neurodegenerative process. Classical gel based and new in-solution SWATH based techniques will be applied to separate identifies protein complexes from different fractions (including soluble fraction and non-soluble fractions) and identified by ESI-Q-TOF mass spectrometry.
 more Infos

Dr. Saima Zafar directs a large interdisciplinary neuro-proteomics research projects primarily centered on understanding the patho-physiology of rapid progressive brain disorders such as Prion, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson's disease as well as the mechanisms underlying the early disease biomarkers and therapeutic targets of deep brain stimulation. The main research interests include Genomics leading to Proteomics and interactomics based techniques within deeper understanding of molecular mechanisms and post-translational modifications by regulating the function and translocation of proteins involved in Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, degenerative dementia, Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease (CJD) diseases. Translational study in disease cell and animal models; Pre-clinical biomarkers identification; clinical interactomics and differential proteome alteration study; mass spectrometric analysis and confocal laser canning approaches to uncover translational medicine propensity.

Key Publications

Schmitz M, Cramm M, Llorens F, Müller-Cramm D, Collins S, Atarashi R, Satoh K, Orrù CD, Groveman BR, Zafar S, Schulz-Schaeffer WJ, Caughey B, Zerr I. The real-time quaking-induced conversion assay for detection of human prion disease and study of other protein misfolding diseases. Nat Protoc. 2016 Jan 01; 11:2233-42.
Matthias Schmitz, Maria Cramm, Franc Llorens, Niccolò Candelise, Dominik Müller-Cramm, Daniela Varges, Walter J. Schulz-Schaeffer, Saima Zafar, Inga Zerr. Application of an in vitro-amplification assay as a novel pre-screening test for compounds inhibiting the aggregation of prion protein scrapie. Scientific Reports. 2016 Jul 06; 6 doi: 10.1038/srep28711
Maria Cramm, Matthias Schmitz, André Karch, Saima Zafar, Daniela Varges, Eva Mitrova, Bjoern Schroeder, Alex Raeber, Franziska Kuhn, Inga Zerr. Characteristic CSF Prion Seeding Efficiency in Humans with Prion Diseases. Molecular Neurobiology. 2013 Dec 31; 51:396-405. doi: 10.1007/s12035-014-8709-6
Maria Cramm, Matthias Schmitz, André Karch, Eva Mitrova, Franziska Kuhn, Bjoern Schroeder, Alex Raeber, Daniela Varges, Yong-Sun Kim, Katsuya Satoh, Steven Collins, Inga Zerr. Stability and Reproducibility Underscore Utility of RT-QuIC for Diagnosis of Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease. Molecular Neurobiology. 2016 Mar 31; 53:1896-1904. doi: 10.1007/s12035-015-9133-2

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