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ETRABRAIN EU FP7 - Initial Training Network | ER2

Project Co-ordinator:

Prof. Leszek Kaczmarek
Nencki Institute
Warsaw, POLAND


Project Manager:

Ms. Marta Rucinska
Nencki Institute
Warsaw, POLAND


Recruitment Co-ordinator

Prof. Alexander Dityatev
Deutsches Zentrum fur
Neurodegenerative Erkrankungen
Magdeburg, GERMANY


Training Co-ordinator

Prof. Robert Pawlak
University of Exeter Medical School
Exeter, UK

ER2:       Automated imaging platform to investigate the role of ECM on synapse number and function (lead: ETEC, partners: UCL, DZNE-2a, FMI, UNEXE)

Dr. Liesbeth Micholt









Before new medication can be applied to patients an extensive drug discovery process needs to be completed. In the initial steps of this process, it is important to know which molecules can be targeted and how the function of these molecules can change when a drug candidate is applied. Here, high throughput screens, where over 100 000 compounds are tested, are extremely important to make a first selection of relevant drug candidates. These screens are performed on cells grown in specialized conditions.

This project aims to find new drugs to treat brain disorders, such as Alzheimer’s disease, by growing specific brain cells known as neurons. These cells form specialized connections called synapses. The specific objective of this project is to use state-of-the-art imaging techniques to investigate how these synapses are generated, as this forms the basis of memory and learning. In effect, Evotec uses high resolution digital microscopy to measure the numbers and types of connections, or synapses, made between neurons. In diseased brain, these connections are often faulty or absent altogether. The ultimate goal is to use these measurements to screen and identify drugs capable of modifying these connections in a way which might be beneficial for the patient.

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