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Press Release: ERC Starting Grant for new SyNergy member Prof. Dr. Lena Burbulla

In her ERC project entitled “Unraveling the Mystery of Preferential Degeneration of Midbrain Neurons in Neurodegenerative Diseases” (acronym: oxDOPAMINE), Burbulla will attempt to determine why cells in the midbrain in humans are particularly prone to accumulate oxidized dopamine, and hence susceptible to degeneration. Her working hypothesis is that defective dopamine metabolism at the synapses (which transmit nerve impulses), in association with a perturbation of iron metabolism, plays a critical role in this vicious circle. To explore this idea further, she also intends to investigate other, rarer neurodegenerative disorders in which defects in iron metabolism are involved.


Lena Burbulla studied Biology at LMU and earned her PhD at Tübingen University. She then worked as a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard Medical School, and in the Departments of Neurology at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston and the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University in Chicago, where she is currently working as Assistant Professor. She was recently awarded a Heisenberg Grant funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) and will soon join the SyNergy Cluster of Excellence at LMU, where her ERC project will be carried out.

Press release LMU


ERC-Starting Grant für neues SyNergy-Mitglied Prof Dr. Lena Burbulla

In ihrem ERC-Projekt „oxDOPAMINE“ (Unraveling the mystery of preferential degeneration of midbrain neurons in neurodegerative diseases) will Lena Burbulla nun untersuchen, was vor allem die Zellen im Mittelhirn anfällig für oxidiertes Dopamin und damit für den Untergang macht. Burbulla vermutet, dass vor allem ein defekter Dopamin-Stoffwechsel an den Synapsen und ein Ungleichgewicht im Eisen-Stoffwechsel dabei eine kritische Rolle spielen. Darum will die Forscherin auch andere noch seltenere neurodegenerative Erkrankungen in den Blick nehmen, an denen ebenfalls Störungen des Eisen-Haushaltes beteiligt sind.

Pressemitteilung LMU