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Scientific, General News, Awards & Honors

Three new Marie Curie Fellowships at IMBA

Ábel Vertesy, Philipp Trepte and Ulrich Hohmann from IMBA – Institute of Molecular Biotechnology of the Austrian Academy of Sciences – are each awarded a prestigious Marie Skłodowska-Curie Individual Fellowship to conduct their research.

Ábel Vértesy: Pheno-connectomics of human neurodevelopmental diseases
Ábel, a postdoc in the lab of IMBA Scientific Director Jürgen Knoblich, will study the connectomics of human neurodevelopmental diseases. Neurons, which are the basic units of the brain are connected to each other by synapses, forming a complex network.
Synaptic networks are heavily affected in human psychiatric conditions such as autism, schizophrenia or depression. Ábel will use cerebral organoids to study how neurons connect to each other in health and disease. Specifically, he will compare the connectome of wild type and monogenic autism syndrome organoids. 

Philipp Trepte: Disease modelling of frontotemporal dementia (FTD)
Philipp, also Postdoc in the Knoblich lab, aims to explore the molecular mechanisms underlying frontotemporal dementia (FTD), where patients suffer from the degeneration of the frontal and temporal lobes, which typically leads to behavioral changes and language deficits.
The goal of this project is to model the disease in human brain organoid cultures and determine if key pathological aspects that are observed in patients can be recapitulated in a dish. In detail, Philipp plans to study pathological protein conformations and their effect on stress granule dynamics in a human brain-like tissue. With his research, Philipp aims to combine basic and applied science to better understand disease mechanisms and develop novel therapeutic strategies for FTD.

Ulrich Hohmann: ‘RNA Smuggling’ 
Ulrich, joint Postdoc in the labs of Julius Brennecke (IMBA) and Clemens Plaschka (IMP), is studying the co-evolution of eukaryotic genomes with transposons, a diverse class of mobile and selfish elements. In the center of his interest is the piRNA pathway, a small RNA-based genome immune system in animal gonads to safeguard genome integrity and fertility.
With his project, Ulrich aims to unravel how the piRNA machinery highjacks canonical mRNA processing pathways. To do so, Ulrich decided to take a holistic approach as he plans to combine quantitative biochemistry, structural biology and genetic to integrate known and novel components into a coherent model.

  

About IMBA
IMBA - Institute of Molecular Biotechnology - is one of the leading biomedical research institutes in Europe focusing on cutting-edge stem cell technologies, functional genomics, and RNA biology. IMBA is located at the Vienna BioCenter, the vibrant cluster of universities, research institutes and biotech companies in Austria. IMBA is a subsidiary of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, the leading national sponsor of non-university academic research. The stem cell and organoid research at IMBA is being funded by the Austrian Federal Ministry of Science and the City of Vienna.

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