Neurodegenerative diseases lead to severe neurological dysfunctions but their underlying cellular and molecular causes are poorly understood. We therefore aim to establish zebrafish disease models that are accessible for both in vivo monitoring of progressive neuronal degeneration and genetic modulation of disease-related processes for revealing entry sites to therapeutic treatment. As the development of the cerebellum, the underlying genetics, the histology, the neuronal connections and their physiology are highly conserved accross vertebrates, findings in zebrafish promise to hold true for mammals including humans.
Unlike mammals, zebrafish have an immense capacity to regenerate neuronal structures in any part of the central nervous system. In fact, the adult zebrafish cerebellum is characterized by pronounced neurogenesis and neuronal differentiation. This offers the unique chance to study neuronal regeneration processes in the vertebrate brain on the cellular and molecular level to identify mechanisms for triggering regeneration in the vertebrate brain. Therefore the Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology Group concentrates on the following three research areas: