Research network: Homeo-Hirn


Our research focus: neuronal compartments in the interaction of disease and health

Project Details

Name: “Homeo-brain” Neuronal compartments in the interaction of disease and health.

Duration: 01.04.2021 until 31.03.2024

Funding: 1.4 million euros from the “Niedersächsisches Vorab” of the Volkswagen Foundation

Project partners:

  • The Zoological Institute with the Department of Cellular Neurobiology headed by Prof. Dr. Martin Korte and further represented by Dr. Marta Zagrebelsky, both cell neurobiologists.
  • The Zoological Institute with the Department of Cell Physiology under the direction of Prof. Dr. Jochen Meier, electrophysiologist studying epilepsy.
  • The Zoological Institute with the Department of Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology headed by Prof. Dr. Reinhard Köster being cell biologist.
  • The Institute of Physical and Theoretical Chemistry, represented by Prof. Dr. Peter J. Walla. He also leads the Biomolecular Spectroscopy and Single Molecule Detection group in the Department of Neurobiology, Max Planck Institute for Multidisciplinary Sciences, Göttingen.
  • The Braunschweig Center for Systems Biology (BRICS), Institute of Biochemistry, Biotechnology and Bioinformatics with Prof. Dr. Karsten Hiller expert for metabolomics and bioinformatics.
  • Prof. Dr. Andreas Dietzel Head of the Institute of Microtechnology, TU Braunschweig; Board Memberof the Center of Pharmaceutical Engineering (PVZ) at the TU Braunschweig
  • The Laboratory for Emerging Nanometrology (LENA) with Prof. Dr. Andreas Waag head of the Institute of Semiconductor Technology and Dr. Mayra Garcés-Schröder providing know-how in semiconductor processing, microtechnology and the integration of microfluidics with photonics.    

as well as participating non-university research institutions and other universities

  • Prof. Dr. Theresia Stradal heading the Department of Cell Biology (ZBIO) at the Helmholtz-Center for Infection research in Braunschweig and Professor for Cell Biology at the TU Braunschweig.
  • Prof. Dr. Klaus-Armin Nave, the Head of the Department of Neurogenetics at the Max Planck Institute for Multidisciplinary Sciences with research focusing on Axon-Glia signaling in myelination and brain energy metabolism using transgenic models of neuropsychiatric diseases.
  • The University Hospital of Lübeck with the Institute of Neurogenetics under the guidance of Prof. Dr. Klein.

Neuronal compartments in the interaction of disease and health

The human brain consists of 83 billion nerve cells and just as many glial cells. Their inner milieu is kept in a state of equilibrium by finely tuned metabolic processes, the so-called metabolic homeostasis. Recent neurological studies show that especially aging processes in the brain, which are accompanied by an increased risk of neurodegenerative diseases (Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia, ALS, Parkinson's disease), have their common cause in a dysfunctional homeostasis of brain cells. So far, there is a lack of precise measurement tools and methods to study in detail the metabolic interplay between the complex subcompartments of neurons and glial cells (such as astrocytes and oligodendrocytes). The common starting point for the scientists involved in the HomeoBrain project. They are investigating how the subcompartments of the nerve cells - cell bodies, dendrites, axons and synapses - interact with each other and with the glial cells, and what effects a disturbed metabolic homeostasis, for example after an infection, has on the brain. Answering these complex questions requires precise measurement tools and optical systems, which will be developed by an interdisciplinary research team that will enable the analysis of subcompartments of neurons and their metabolome. The team consists of researchers from the fields of neurobiology, systems biology, chemistry and engineering sciences such as mechanical and electrical engineering. The collaboration of engineering sciences and biomedical research is expected to contribute to a better understanding of disease processes in the brain, thereby enabling targeted causal research of age-associated neurological diseases. In addition, more precise knowledge of metabolic homeostasis should open up the possibility of testing active substances more efficiently. For both questions - basic research as well as drug analysis - not only existing analytical methods will be used, but also highly integrated microflow systems with new optical methods will be developed, in which single neurons and their subcompartments can be analyzed and stimulated highly efficiently. The basis for this development is the interdisciplinary collaboration of the research centers BRICS (systems biology/infection research), PVZ (drug discovery) and LENA (nanometrology). Interdisciplinary networking thus enables basic research to advance the fight against major brain diseases in terms of measurement and therapy.


  • Korte, M., Köster, R.W. Opening the box of PANTHORA in Alzheimer’s disease. Sig Transduct Target Ther 7, 344 (2022).
  • Schramm P, Hetsch F, Meier JC, Köster RW. In vivo Imaging of Fully Active Brain Tissue in Awake Zebrafish Larvae and Juveniles by Skull and Skin Removal. J Vis Exp. 2021 Feb 10;(168). doi: 10.3791/62166. PMID: 33645565.
  • Sol Pose-Méndez, Paul Schramm, Barbara Winter, Jochen C. Meier, Konstantinos Ampatzis, Reinhard W. Köster. Lifelong regeneration of cerebellar Purkinje neurons after induced cell ablation in zebrafish. bioRxiv. doi:
  • A. B. Dharmawan; S. Mariana; G. Scholz; P. Hörmann; T. Schulze; K. Triyana; M. Garcés-Schröder; I. Rustenbeck; K. Hiller; H. S. Wasisto; A. Waag (2021): Nonmechanical parfocal and autofocus features based on wave propagation distribution in lensfree holographic microscopy. In: Scientific reports 11 (1), S. 3213. DOI: 10.1038/s41598-021-81098-7.
  • Mattern, K., Trotha, J.W., Erfle, P., Köster, R.W., Dietzel, A., NeuroExaminer: an all-glass microfluidic device for whole-brain in vivo imaging in zebrafish (2020) Communications Biology, 3 (1), art. no. 311, DOI: 10.1038/s42003-020-1029-7.
  • V. Agluschewitsch, M. Garcés-Schröder, and A. Waag, “Optofluidic Particle Detection,” Proceedings, vol. 56, no. 1, p. 26, 2020, doi: 10.3390/proceedings2020056026.
  • G. Scholz; S. Mariana; A. B. Dharmawan; I. Syamsu; P. Hörmann; C. Reuse; J. Hartmann; K. Hiller; J. D. Prades; H. S. Wasisto; A. Waag (2019): Continuous Live-Cell Culture Imaging and Single-Cell Tracking by Computational Lensfree LED Microscopy. In: Sensors (Basel, Switzerland) 19 (5). DOI: 10.3390/s19051234.
  • Namikawa K, Dorigo A, Zagrebelsky M, Russo G, Kirmann T, Fahr W, Dübel S, Korte M, Köster RW. Modeling Neurodegenerative Spinocerebellar Ataxia Type 13 in Zebrafish Using a Purkinje Neuron Specific Tunable Coexpression System. J Neurosci. 2019 May 15;39(20):3948-3969. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1862-18.2019. Epub 2019 Mar 12. PMID: 30862666; PMCID: PMC6520513
  • A. B. Dharmawan; G. Scholz; S. Mariana; P. Hörmann; I. Ardiyanto; S. Wibirama; J. Hartmann; J. D. Prades; K. Hiller; A. Waag; H. S. Wasisto (2018): Artificial Neural Networks for Automated Cell Quantification in Lensless LED Imaging Systems. In: Proceedings 2 (13), S. 989. DOI: 10.3390/proceedings2130989.
  • G. Scholz; S. Mariana; I. Syamsu; A. B. Dharmawan; T. Schulze; K. Mattern; P. Hörmann; J. Hartmann; A. Dietzel; I. Rustenbeck; K. Hiller; J. D. Prades; A. Waag; H. S. Wasisto (2018): Continuous Live-Cell Culture Monitoring by Compact Lensless LED Microscopes. In: Proceedings 2 (13), S. 877. DOI: 10.3390/proceedings2130877.


Research project Homeo-Hirn wins 2nd place of the North German Science Award 2022.


Prof. Dr. Martin Korte

Technische Universität Braunschweig
Zoological Institute
Cellular Neurobiology
Spielmannstraße 7
38106 Braunschweig
Phone: +49 531 391-3220