Project Co-ordinator:

Prof. Leszek Kaczmarek
http://neurogene.nencki.gov.pl
l.kaczmarek@nencki.gov.pl
Nencki Institute
Warsaw, POLAND

 

Project Manager:

Ms. Marta Rucinska
m.rucinska@nencki.gov.pl
Nencki Institute
Warsaw, POLAND

 

Recruitment Co-ordinator

Prof. Alexander Dityatev
alexander.dityatev@dzne.de
Deutsches Zentrum fur
Neurodegenerative Erkrankungen
Magdeburg, GERMANY

 

Training Co-ordinator

Prof. Robert Pawlak
R.Pawlak@exeter.ac.uk
University of Exeter Medical School
Exeter, UK

ITN EXTRABRAIN

The extracellular matrix (ECM) has recently emerged as a fourth "synaptic" element, in addition to presynapse, postsynapse, and glia, which rapidly exchanges molecular signals with the other three. The ECM/CAMs also span the synaptic cleft, providing a transsynaptic adhesive apparatus, and the molecular steric hindrance imposed by the ECM/CAMs appears to regulate the synaptic dynamics. Furthermore, recent studies have shown that proteolytic activity may release from the ECM/CAMs cryptic ligand(s) that activate cell surface receptors and initiate intracellular signalling cascade(s). Thus, ECM and its enzymatic modifications have emerged as a highly topical research area, also because their extracellular localization makes the development of enzymatic inhibitors more feasible, with better access for novel drugs. In brief, it can be expected that a better understanding of the newly emerging field of ECM and its proteolysis in major brain diseases may change the way they are diagnosed and treated.

The ITN EXTRABRAIN brings together a group of well-established academic and industrial partners sharing interest in the ECM and its proteolysis, as summarized below.

 

 Partnership 

  Country

  Legal entity name 
  (Acronym)

  Department Division /
  Laboratory

  Scientist-in-charge

1

  Poland

  Nencki Institute of
  Experimental Biology
  (NENCKI)

  Laboratory of
  Neurobiology

  Leszek Kaczmarek

2a

  Germany

  Deutsches Zentrum für
  Neurodegenerative
  Erkrankungen (DZNE)

  Laboratory of Molecular
  Neuroplasticity
  (DZNE-2a)

  Alexander Dityatev

2b

  Department of
  Translational Research
  (DZNE-2b)

  Jochen Herms

3

  United
  Kingdom

  University of Exeter
  (UNEXE)

  Laboratory of Neuronal
  Plasticity and Behaviour

  Robert Pawlak

4

  Switzerland

  Friedrich Miescher
  Institute (FMI)

  Department of
  Neurobiology

  Pico Caroni

5

  Germany

  Max Planck Institute of
  Experimental Medicine
  (MPG)

  Laboratory of Clinical
  Neuroscience

  Hannelore Ehrenreich

6

  United
  Kingdom

  University College
  London (UCL)

  Laboratory of Synaptic
  Imaging

  Dmitri Rusakov

7

  France

  ENS Paris (ENS)

  Department of Biology

  Antoine Triller

8

  Portugal

  Stab Vida (SVIDA)

 

  Orfeu Flores

9

  Germany

  Evotec (ETEC)

 

  Kenneth Young

11

  Switzerland

  Burson – Marsteller
  (BUMA)

 

  Linda Pavy


The focus of EXTRABRAIN training program is on expanding knowledge and on developing new treatments to the most costly brain disorders. The program will focus on anxiety disorders, schizophrenia, mental retardation and Alzheimer’s. A unifying neurobiological concept in the consorted effort to tackle these conditions is the involvement of abnormal synaptic plasticity.