NEURO RESEARCH GROUP
The Neuro Research Group (NRG), headed by Prof Ben Loos, combines cell biology, cell physiology, microscopy and biochemistry approaches to dissect and investigate the relationship and role of protein degradation through macroautophagy and cell death susceptibility in neurodegeneration and gliomas. The fine balance of proteostasis control, protein aggregation and proteotoxicity is the main focus point, due to its role in disease onset and progression. Autophagy is an essential process that allows cellular survival in stress conditions through the enhanced degradation of long-lived proteins. Since the vast majority of proteins in the cell are long-lived, its metabolic contribution is significant. Dysfunction in autophagy is associated with numerous pathologies that are characterized by a shift in cell death susceptibility, such as neurodegenerative diseases or cancer. In order to achieve this, the lab focuses on macroautophagy (MA), chaperone mediated autophagy (CMA), cellular metabolism, mitochondrial morphology and function, tubulin and transport systems, the cytoskeleton and ATP consumption. Central to our approach is a dynamic perspective on the cell’s function and its stress response, in context of its current intracellular and extracellular metabolic parameters. Our research findings in the past have demonstrated a clear relationship between the cell’s autophagic proficiency and apoptosis/necrosis onset, which demands for a dynamic and integrative approach.