The ultimate goal of our work is to better understand the pathophysiology of neurodegenerative diseases, especially amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), as a basis to find new neuroprotective treatments for these fatal conditions.
As the axon is the cellular compartment that is affected first and most severely in most neurodegenerative diseases, we want to better understand the mechanisms that lead to its degeneration. Important cellular mechanisms that are affected in axonal degeneration comprise axonal transport, autophagy and cytoskeletal integrity. We use different experimental set-ups to monitor these cellular functions including in vivo live-imaging of the rat optic nerve, STED microscopy of the cytoskeleton and microfluidic chambers.
We want to translate the findings form the basic research quickly to the patient and therefore intiate clinical studies with ALS patients. Moreover we analyze different potential biomarkers to better and earlier diagnose the disease.