The main objective of the research group is to identify the mechanisms by which autophagy functions in neuroprotection and tumor suppression.
Intracellular protein misfolding/aggregation are features of many late-onset neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease, but also associated with other proteopathies as well as cancer. Currently, there are few effective strategies to slow or prevent such diseases and in order to develop rational therapeutic strategies it is important to understand how such aggregate-prone proteins cause disease and how this can be prevented.
Recently, we and others have shown that autophagy plays a critical role in selective elimination of such diease-causing aggregate-prone proteins and that upregulation of autophagy has a neuroprotective and tumorsuppressive function. Thus, a detailed knowledge of the molecules involved in autophagy and the molecular dissection of their interactions and regulations might lead to identification of suitable targets for the development of future therapeutics.