am Standort Dresden,
Areas of investigation/research focus
A main focus of the Clinical Cooperation Unit is the bidirectional translation between basic science and clinical patient work, including human patient-derived iPSC cultures, drug development, biomarker development (MRI markers and behavioral endophenotypes); characterization of prodromal states of neurodegeneration and clinical correlation of spreading of disease pathology including non motor symptoms in neurodegenerative diseases. Future direction will more and more involve work on healthy aging including modes and mechanisms of disease converions from prodromal stages or interventions to avoid secondary aging.
Behavioural Endophenotypes of different neurodegenerative diseases
We analyse the differential involvement of hippocampal degeneration and brain network impairment in different forms of aphasie (lesional vs. degenerative aphasia) and the influece of the lack of movement on hippocampal function (due to paralysis in motor neuron disease). For this we use the Dresden Spatial Navigation Task (DSNT), a virtual version of the classical water maze task designed and validated in animal studies. This is done in close colaboration with the Kempermann group at the DZNE site Dresden. Additionally we use neurophysiology techniques (event-related potentials) in collaboration with the Prof. Beste group in Dresden.
Palliative and patient-centered care in advanced neurodegeneration
Patient-centered care is another focus of our group also involving joint activities within DZNE (e.g. Interside project of next-of-kins studies of FTD patients). Using computer-based communication techniques including eye-tracking systems we investigate the Quality of Life (QoL) of such advanced patients and the influence of health care and public mains on the QoL of patients and their next of kins as well as the influence on decicion making towards live prolonging procedures.
Human cell models of neurodegeneration
The basic science DZNE group focus on the establishment of a resource of hypothesis-matched cell models: a panel of patient-specific iPS cells together with improved protocols for the derivation of disease-relevant cell types. Mitochondrial/energy (dys-)metabolism and axonopathy in ALS/FTD and further neurodegenerative diseases (HD, PD, forms of neuropathies) have become further important areas of basic research of our group. Beside the “reverse translation” (from clinic to basic research), we pursue the aim of “forward translation” with regard to drug screening/development and improved diagnostic procedures with the main focus on unraveling the pathophysiology of the underlying neurodegenerative disease.