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The different types of cells, the connections between them and with other organs make our brain very complex and fascinating. During the evening we will have a flavour of how a disease of the central nervous system like multiple sclerosis can be studied on a single-cell level, how the cross talk between blood vessel and neural cells could be the key to understand brain diseases and how studying the eye of an ancient vertebrate can help us to understand the evolution of our eyes. Sounds difficult? Come and listen because we will make it easy and fun!
Dissecting multiple sclerosis: one cell at a time
Lucas Schirmer (Assistant Professor in Neurology at Medical Faculty Mannheim, University of Heidelberg)
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic inflammatory autoimmune disease of the central nervous system. Our speaker Lucas will talk about clinical and pathological features of MS moving then to cutting-edge genomic approaches aiming at dissecting the disease on a single-cell level. His aims are about bridging molecular and systems neurosciences aiming at a better understanding of MS and providing avenues for future therapies.
Through ancient eyes: lampreys can teach us about how we see
Dr Phil Oel (Postdoctoral fellow working at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory, EMBL, and Zentrum für Molekulare Biologie of the University of Heidelberg, ZMBH)
Animals invented eyes many times! It turns out it is pretty easy to do, if you start with cells that can catch light and convert it to brain signals. Many different eyes have been invented in the last half billion years, including human-style eyes. How can we know how the first eyes worked? Phil works with the blood-sucking lamprey, which has the oldest eyes related to ours. He studies their eyes, to learn how our eyes first evolved.
Blood vessels in the central nervous system: actors and directors
Professor Carmen Ruiz de Almodóvar (Professor at European Center for Angioscience, ECAS, Faculty of Medicine Mannheim, Heidelberg University.)
Our brain is not only composed of millions of neurons and glia cells but also of million of blood vessels. Despite of being highly dependent of each other, neurons and vessels have been traditionally studied independently. Today, I will talk about how, in my research group, we combine neuro- and vascular biology research to understand this very tight and controlled communication between both systems.