Our research focus is on the cellular and molecular mechanisms of brain aging and age-related neurodegenerative diseases, with a special emphasis on the pathogenesis of Alzheimer´s disease and other cerebral proteopathies. Alzheimer's disease is the most frequently occurring age-related dementia, with more than 1 million people affected in Germany. As of 2010 our department is also part of the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE).
We are primarily a department of basic research with a focus on preclinical investigations of disease mechanisms. To foster the translation of our research to clinical applications, we partnered with the Department of Psychiatry and established a clinical research unit that closely collaborates with the outpatient Memory Clinic. We also maintain a biobank for biofluids and brain tissue of mouse models and this is done in close collaboration with the corresponding local human biobanks.
We also coordinate the international Dominantly Inherited Alzheimer Network (DIAN) study in Germany, which aims to understand the rare genetic forms of Alzheimer's disease by longitudinal analysis of gene mutation carriers and non-mutation carrier siblings. Understanding this type of Alzheimer's disease is expected to provide important clues to the development of the more common sporadic form of Alzheimer´s disease.
Currently our department is composed of two research groups and three research units:
- Experimental Neuropathology
- Experimental Neuroimmunology
- Molecular Imaging Unit
- Molecular Biomarker Unit
- Dementia Research Unit (clinical)
We also maintain a Core Unit and a mini-department for our little ones, i.e. a playroom.
Our department hosts scientists from more than 10 nations, ranging from short-term fellows, master students, PhD and MD students to postdoctoral fellows, clinicians, group leaders, and guest professors. This variety is also reflected in our funding that includes support for DIAN families as well as support to study protein structures. The department's goal is to create an intellectually and socially stimulating intramural environment that is also highly competitive extramurally.