Our research is focused on the role of IL-6/gp130-associated cytokines and neurosteroids in the nervous system, especially with respect to their role in the diseased brain. To elucidate the molecular mechanisms involved in mediating the activity of this family of cytokines we perform in vivo and in vitro studies using a wide range of state of the art morphological, biochemical and molecular biological techniques.
Currently regulation of neurogenesis in the adult nervous system and neuroprotection against amyloid toxicity are two of the main research areas studied in the lab. Our aim is to understand how self-renewal, proliferation differentiation of neural stem cells are regulated. Our observation that these immature cells are exquisitely sensitive to the toxic effects of the ß-amyloid, the accumulation of which is one of the causes leading to Alzheimer's disease, directed our interest towards strategies designed to ameliorate its deleterious effects. In a collaborative approach with scientists from Strasbourg and Basel we identified lead compound that show great potential to be developed into therapeutic tools.
Image: Adult neural stem cells
Quiescence, activation, self-renewal, proliferation an differentiation of stem cells in the adult nervous system are regulated by intrinsic and extrinsic cues. We found that a particular family of cytokines, namely gp130-cytokines, play a central role in regulating these processes. We use in vitro and in vivo systems to elucidate the molecular mechanisms of their action.