AG Catanese: Cell biology of neurodegenerative diseases

Our main goal is to investigate the pathomechanisms characterizing the motoneurons of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) patients by using in vitro models based on human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSC). Thanks to the state-of-the-art setup for hiPSC cultures present at the Insitute of Anatomy and Cell Biology and in direct collaboration with the Ulm site of the DZNE, we combine 2D neuronal cultures, cerebral and spinal organoids with multi-omics approaches to uncover the pathologic alterations that drive neurodegeneration and depict a common “pathogenic signature” shared by different cases of ALS. In particular, we focus on synaptic aberrations and catabolic dysfunctions with the final goal of identifying novel therapeutic targets for the treatment of ALS.

In addition, we apply the same hiPSC-based experimental setup to investigate the synaptic contribution to neuronal sufferance in other neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer´s and spinal muscular atrophy (SMA).

Our research is supported by:

- Universität Ulm (Bausteinprogramm)
- Else Kröner-Fresenius-Stiftung
- Deutsche Zentrum für Neurodegenerative Erkrankungen (DZNE)
- Frick foundation
- DFG (SFB-1149 and SFB-1506)


Group leader:

Dr. Alberto Catanese

Group members:

Technical assistants
- Maria Manz
- Sabine Seltenheim

PhD students
- Amr Aly
- Vivien Nöth
- Pietro Zanella (DZNE)
- Anna Ponomarenko
- Luca Fabbio

MD students
- Daniel Sommer
- Christina Steffke
- Lotta Brockhaus
- Valerie Erfle
- Johannes Lehmann
- Valentin Mayer
- Leo Hauschild
- Yusuf Mohamed
- Mira Seidel

- Alexander Wirth
- Dennis Freisem
- Alessa Franz
- Federica Torelli
- Tugba Demir
- Sandeep Rajikumar