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FRIAS research focus in the Academic Year 2015/16 – „Membrane Trafficking in Ageing and Disease“

On Saturday July 5th, 2014, four proposals were presented to the FRIAS international scientific advisory board who then selected the research focus “Membrane Trafficking in Ageing and Disease” for funding.

The professors

Klaus Aktories (Institute of Experimental and Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology),

Jörn Dengjel (Department for Dermatology and ZBSA),

Stefan Eimer (BIOSS and ZBSA) and

Tobias B. Huber (Department Medicine IV)


will use different model systems and a wide spectrum of methods to investigate pathological variations in membrane trafficking in ageing and disease. The aim of the focus researchers is to understand the underlying biological processes in order to be able to develop new therapeutic approaches for membrane trafficking disturbances.

The research focus will be supported by international fellows and other visiting scientists through the FCFP Fellowship programme. The FRIAS funding aims at increasing the international visibility of this research area at the University of Freiburg. One goal of the project group is to continue this research by obtaining additional external funding.


„Membrane Trafficking in Ageing and Disease“

Increasing age causes progressive deterioration of tissues and organs, leading to impaired tissue function, increased organismal vulnerability to infection, and death. Hence ageing is recognized as a prime disease factor. Improving health in the elderly will be crucial to deal with the enormous socio-economic challenges arising as a consequence of increased life expectancy.

Membranes are at the center of cellular biology, compartmentalizing cells into functional distinct sub-compartments and constituting scaffolds for signal initiation and propagation. Hence, it is not surprising that deregulated membrane trafficking emerges also as key processes in ageing and disease. By combining model organisms, such as C.elegans and mouse, with mammalian cell culture, advanced molecular biology and protein biochemistry, and ‘omics’ approaches we aim at characterizing deregulated membrane trafficking in ageing and disease. This will allow a functional understanding of underlying biological processes which can be employed to design strategies promoting healthy ageing.

Project description