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ETRABRAIN EU FP7 - Initial Training Network | ESR1

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

ESR1:    Role of Matrix Metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9) in schizophrenia-like behaviors (lead: NENCKI, partners: UNEXE, ETEC)

 Behnam Vafadari



The project aims to investigate links between extracellular protease, MMP-9 and schizophrenia. MMP-9 has recently been implicated in the synaptic plasticity as well as neuropsychiatric disorders. In particular, gene polymorphisms, blood plasma protein levels and gene expression response to anti-psychotics  support possible involvement of MMP-9 in schizophrenia. The project will involve extensive behavioral studies on rats and mice, combined with such methods as optogenetics, connectomics, imaging and molecular biology.

We believe that is is possible to localize specific mind functions into the brain and then reveal their molecular and cellular underpinnings. The window to understand mind is learning and memory that can be successfully studied in experimental animals. At the molecular and cellular levels, synaptic plasticity appears to provide plausible explanation for those phenomena.

For more information about research in the group, please see recent papers and reviews:

  • Knapska E., Lioudyno V., Kiryk A., Gorkiewicz T., Mikosz M., Michaluk P., Gawlak M., Chaturvedi M., Mochol G., Balcerzyk M., Wojcik D.K., Wilczynski G.M., Kaczmarek L. Reward learning requires activity of matrix metalloproteinase-9 in the central amygdala. J. Neurosci., 33: 14591–14600, 2013.
  • Dziembowska M., Milek J., Janusz A., Rejmak E., Romanowska E., Gorkiewicz T., Tiron A., Bramham C., Kaczmarek L. Activity-dependent local translation of matrix metalloproteinase-9. J. Neurosci., 32: 14538 –14547, 2012.
  • Rivera S., Khrestchatisky M., Kaczmarek L., Rosenberg G.A., Jaworski D.M., Metzincin proteases and their inhibitors, foes or friends in nervous system physiology? J. Neurosci., 30: 15337–15357, 2010.
  • Knapska E., Macias M., Mikosz M., Nowak A., Owczarek D., Wawrzyniak M., Pieprzyk M.,  Cymerman I.A., Werka T., Sheng M., Maren S., Jaworski J., Kaczmarek L. Functional anatomy of neural circuits regulating fear and extinction. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 42: 17093-17098, 2012.
  • Knapska E., Radwanska K., Werka T., Kaczmarek L. Functional internal complexity of amygdala: focus on gene activity mapping following behavioral training and drugs of abuse. Physiol. Rev., 87: 1113-1173, 2007.
  • Wilczynski G.M., Konopacki F.A., Wilczek E., Lasiecka Z., Gorlewicz A., Michaluk P., Wawrzyniak M., Malinowska M., Okulski P., Kolodziej L.R., Konopka W., Duniec K., Mioduszewska B., Nikolaev E., Walczak A., Owczarek D., Gorecki D.C., Zuschratter W., Ottersen O.P., Kaczmarek L. Important role of matrix metalloproteinase 9 (MMP-9) in epileptogenesis. J. Cell Biol., 180: 1021-1035, 2008.

The Nencki Institute (www.nencki.gov.pl) is the leading biological research insitution in Poland, with excellent infrastructure allowing to conduct mostly animal studies ranging from biochemistry & molecular biology through cell biology, neurobiology to neurophysiology, as well as human psychophysiology and brain imaging.

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