Optimization of an N-type calcium channel blocker for a general neuroprotection approach based on a neuron specific calcium ion influx reduction.
Project summary: Dysregulation of the intracellular calcium homeostasis seems to play an important role in neuronal cell damage and cell death observed in several neurodegenerative disorders, as for example Alzheimer’s disease (AD) or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). In particular, increased cytoplasmic calcium levels are responsible for over-excitation and cellular stress of neurons. Therefore, the modulation of calcium influx through neuron specific calcium ion channels, to counteract increased intracellular calcium concentrations, is a promising target for a general neuroprotective approach. Aim of this project is the optimization of a compound found to selectively inhibit the N-type calcium channel (NCC) and the subsequent characterization of subtype-specificity and affinity, as well as analysis of the mode of action in in vitro and in vivo experiments.
Project Duration: 2020 – 2023
- HHU Dusseldorf: Prof. Dieter Willbold and Dr. Janine Kutzsche
- University of Melbourne: Prof. Colin Masters
I was always fascinated by the complexity and interconnectivity of biological processes. Therefore, I started studying biology at the University of Bonn with a main focus on molecular biology and its application. During my time as a student I gathered my main experience in three different research areas: general cell biology, age-associated diseases and finally neuroscience. Fortunately, I was able to find a project in a field combining my preferred components of all previous research areas and I could join the project, incorporated in the JUMPA Joint PhD program, at the Forschungszentrum Jülich in March 2020.