Proteases in the Brain

Prof. Carl Blobel (Hospital for Special Surgery, Cornell University) has been a Hans Fischer Senior Fellow at the TUM-IAS since February 2015. Together with his host, Prof. Stefan Lichtenthaler (Neuroproteomics, TUM), and their TUM-IAS sponsored graduate student, Johanna Tueshaus, they plan to focus on the role of proteolytic enzymes in the brain. Proteolytic enzymes are molecular scissors that can cut other proteins and thereby regulate their function.

The Focus Group Proteases in the Brain will concentrate on understanding the roles of these molecular scissors in diseases of the brain, such as Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). These efforts are further supported by Rudolf Mößbauer Tenure Track Professor Franz Hagn (Structural Membrane Biochemistry, TUM), who will contribute cutting-edge structural analysis of the proteases and their interacting protein partners by Nuclear Magnetic Resonance.

Overall, the Proteases in the Brain Focus Group is taking a highly interdisciplinary and comprehensive approach that includes structural studies at the level of atoms (Hagn), biochemical studies at the level of proteins (Lichtenthaler, Tueshaus), cell biological studies at the level of intact cells and physiological studies at the level of intact organisms such as mice (Blobel, Lichtenthaler). The overarching goal is to further our understanding of the functions of proteases in the brain in order to hopefully uncover new treatments for AD and TBI.  The Proteases in the Brain Focus Group plans close collaborations and meetings with other scientists at TUM and in the greater Munich area who are interested in proteases, including Dmitry Frishman, Christina Scharnagl, Dieter Langosch, Achim Krüger, Christian Haass, Regina Fluhrer, and Harald Steiner.

Doctoral Candidates and Postdocs:
Dr. Merav Shmueli, German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases
Johanna Tüshaus, German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases