PD. Dr. Gerhild van Echten-Deckert

Group Leader
Sphingolipids in Brain Health and Disease
Life & Medical Science Institute (LIMES)
Unit 3: Membrane Biology & Biochemistry
At the Kekulé-Institute of the University of Bonn
Gerhard-Domagk-Str. 1
53121 Bonn, Germany
Phone: +49( 0) 228 732703
Email: g.echten.deckert@uni-bonn.de

Research Focus

The main scientific interest of our group is directed towards the role of sphingolipids in brain health and disease. Our work is highly interdisciplinary and we are involved in several collaborative projects. We generated a mouse model in which sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P)-lyase, the enzyme catalysing the final step of sphingolipid catabolism, is specifically inactivated in neural cells. This model enabled us to show the impact of this enzyme for synaptic architecture, neuronal autophagy, and finally for cognitive and motor skills. A deeper characterization of this model uncovered the cell type specific role of S1P in the brain, including activation of astroglia and microglia and thus its involvement in neuroinflammation. We try to uncover the role of calcium as an essential mediator of the observed effects elicited by the accumulation of S1P and to understand the underlying molecular mechanism.
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