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Institute News

April 2021

Dr. Kristin Rattay is appointed Professor at the Institute of Pharmacology

The Institute of Pharmacology is happy to have Dr. Kristin Rattay as a new professor since April 1st. Kristin Rattay received her Ph.D. from the German Cancer Research Center and the Heidelberg University in Germany where she worked on the transcriptional mechanisms regulating self-peptide expression in medullary thymic epithelial cells. During her Postdoc at the Harvard Medical School in Boston, USA, she studied the importance of venular endothelial cells and their role as gatekeeper cells regulating thymic tissue homeostasis. Her future research will focus on the cellular and molecular mechanisms of tolerance induction in the thymus, studying cell communication between T cells, thymic epithelial cells and endothelial cells, T cell migration through the stroma and the transcriptional regulation of self-peptide expression in the thymus.



March 2021

Dr. Mark Schmitt starts new research group on intestinal inflammation and cancer

The Institute of Pharmacology welcomes Dr. Mark Schmitt as a new research group leader. Mark Schmitt studied biology at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Germany. During his Ph.D. in the lab of Prof. Dr. Véronique Orian-Rousseau at the Institute of Toxicology and Genetics in Karlsruhe, he analyzed the functional role of the stem cell marker CD44 as a feedback regulator for Wnt-signaling and CD44v6 as marker of metastatic cancer cells. He joined then joined the lab of Prof. Dr. Riccardo Fodde at the Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam, Netherlands, as a postdoctoral research fellow. There, he investigated the pro-tumorigenic effects of inflammation and diet on the intestinal stem cell niche. Afterwards, he moved to the lab of Prof. Dr. Florian Greten at the Georg-Speyer-Haus, Frankfurt, Germany, to work on intestinal cancer and examine cellular plasticity in colorectal cancer progression and therapy response. Since March 1st, he is now research group leader at the Institute of Pharmacology, where his work will focus on the role of cellular plasticity in intestinal inflammation and inflammation-associated colorectal cancer onset.


February 2021

Ph.D. defense of Chen Jiang

On February 23rd, Chen Jiang successfully defended his thesis with the title "The role of B-plexins for mechanochemical control of epidermal stem cell divisions in development and cancer". He received his Ph.D. with the best possible grade "summa cum laude".

January 2021

Elucidation of a mechanochemical mechanism to control epidermal stem cell divisions

The precise spatiotemporal control of cell proliferation is key to the morphogenesis of epithelial tissues. Epithelial cell divisions lead to tissue crowding and local changes in force distribution, which in turn suppress the rate of cell divisions. The molecular mechanisms underlying this mechanical feedback are largely unclear. Chen Jiang, PhD student at the institute, and co-workers from Helsinki (Finland), London (UK), Bethesda (USA), Göttingen (Germany), Cologne (Germany) and Bad Nauheim (Germany) have now identified a critical requirement of B-plexin transmembrane receptors in the response to crowding-induced mechanical forces during embryonic skin development. Epidermal stem cells lacking B-plexins fail to sense mechanical compression, resulting in disinhibition of cell divisions and tissue overgrowth. Our work provides evidence that the B-plexin-dependent mechanochemical feedback is also pathophysiologically relevant to limit tumor growth in basal cell carcinoma, the most common type of skin cancer. Our results uncover a central role of B-plexins in mechanosensation to couple cell density and cell division in development and disease.

Please click here for further information

Photo: Chen Jiang

January 2021

A role for microtubule tyrosination in epithelial morphogenesis

Microtubules form part of the cytoskeleton, and are made up by polymers of tubulin. Tubulin can undergo a post-translational modification called tyrosination. This tyrosination is carried out by the enzyme, tubulin tyrosine ligase (TTL), which adds tyrosine to the carboxy terminus of detyrosinated alpha-tubulin. A research team of the University of Marburg, including Florian Hub and Thomas Worzfeld, has now discovered that the equilibrium between microtubules enriched in detyrosinated or tyrosinated tubulin plays an important role in epithelial morphogenesis.

Please click here for further information

March 2020

TRPC1 modifies cation currents in hippocampal CA1 neurons

TRPC channel subunits (TRPC1-7) form receptor-operated cation channels. Whether TRPC1 can form channels on its own remains unclear, but TRPC1 can heteromultimerize with other TRPCs leading to changes in their functional properties. During her PhD work at the institute, Frauke Kepura (now Dormann) studied the effect of genetic deletion of TRPC1 on receptor-operated cation currents in hippocampal CA1 pyramidal neurons. Cation currents activated downstream of metabotropic glutamate receptors were modified such that inward currents were larger in TRPC1-/- neurons than in TRPC1+/+ neurones. The results indicate that TRPC1 has an inhibitory modulatory effect on cation currents (probably in heteromultimeric complexes with TRPC4 and TRPC5 with which it combines and which are co-expressed in these neurons) and probably does not form homomeric channels. Expression of TRPC1 reduces the tendency of these neurons to generate longer-lasting plateau potentials.

Photo: Tim Plant

Please click here for further information.

March 2020

Gangliosides Modulate Insulin Secretion by Pancreatic Beta-Cells

Type 2 diabetes is an extremely prevalent metabolic disease characterized by high blood sugar levels and relative lack of insulin. The research group of Hermann-Josef Gröne has discovered that negatively charged sialic acid containing ganliosides are synthesized in pancreatic islets at high concentrations. These gangliosides GM3 and GD3 could increase glucose uptake by the glucose transporter GLUT2 in beta cells of pancreatic islets, leading to an increase in insulin secretion; the effect was pronounced under a high glucose load and hyperlipidemia, two conditions found in type 2 diabetes.

For further reading, please click here.

March 2020

Carsten Höß receives the Young Investigator Award of the German Society of Pharmacology and Toxicology

The 86th Annual Meeting of the German Society for Experimental and Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology (DGPT) was held from March 2nd to 5th in Leipzig, Germany. Carsten Höß, PhD student at the institute, gave a superb talk on his newly discovered mechanism of plexin signal transduction, and was awarded the "Young Investigator Award" of the Society.

Congratulations, Carsten!

December 2019

Christmas Party

On December 17th, we had the Christmas Party of the Biochemical-Pharmacological Center. All institutes of the Center, i.e. the Institute of Pharmacology and the Institute of Physiological Chemistry of the Medical Faculty and the Institute of Pharmacology and Clinical Pharmacy of the Pharmacy Faculty, enjoyed a wonderful relaxed evening together, with great food and drinks, nice conversations, playing games together and dancing in the disco area!

Photo: Thomas Worzfeld

November 2019

New Research Training Group „The inflammatory tumor secretome – from understanding to novel therapies”

The German Research Foundation has approved 3.9 Million Euro of funding for the years 2020 to 2024 for a Research Training Group in Marburg and Giessen in the field of cancer research. This graduate school will focus on the role of the inflammation-driven tumor secretome for tumor progression and therapy resistance. The consortium will benefit from its interdisciplinary composition represented by basic researchers and clinicians who tackle the competitive field of the tumor secretome by analyzing different tumor entities, i.e. ovarian cancer, prancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma and acute myeloid leukemia.

The Institute of Pharmacology is proud to be part of this consortium with a project on the “Influence of tumor-host secretome on ovarian cancer cell invasion and metastasis”.

For further information, please click here

August 2019

Identification of dickkopf-3 as a novel predictive marker for acute kidney injury

Acute kidney injury (AKI) is the most frequent complication in patients who have cardiac surgery. However, preoperative diagnostic markers for the identification of patients at high risk for postoperative loss of kidney function are missing. Hermann-Josef Gröne now contributed to a study published in “Lancet”, which shows that preoperative urinary dickkopf-3, a modulator of the Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway, is an independent predictor for postoperative AKI. This could allow preventive strategies in patients at high risk for AKI.

June 2019

Institute summer party 2019

Foto: Thomas Worzfeld

After a fascinating guided tour through the beautiful Marburg castle, we enjoyed the wonderful weather with barbecue and beer. Cheers!

June 2019

Glycosphingolipids as novel pharmacological targets in acute kidney injury

A new publication of the research team of Hermann-Josef Gröne shows that globotriaosylceramide (Gb3/CD77), a glycosphingolipid expressed in tubular epithelial cells of the kidney, could be a potential new pharmacological target in the treatment of acute kidney injury.

further information

May 2019

Frank Czubayko and Thomas Worzfeld receive the Award for Excellent Teaching of the State of Hesse

Foto: Nadja Düvelmeyer
from left to right - Nora Jochens, Department of Surgery; Dr. Andreas Jerrentrup, Department of Emergency Medicine; Dr. Martin Sassen, Department of Emergency Medicine; Prof. Frank Czubayko, Institute of Pharmacology; Angela Dorn, Minister of Science and Art of the State of Hesse; Prof. Thomas Worzfeld, Institute of Pharmacology; Prof. Katharina Krause, President of the University of Marburg; Prof. Stefan Bösner, Department of General Medicine; Prof. Hinnerk Wulf; Department of Anesthesiology; Dr. Egbert Opitz, Manager of the Patient Safety Teaching Programme

The Award for Excellent Teaching of the State of Hesse 2019 goes to the teaching project “Decide wisely – treat safely” of the University of Marburg. As part of a team of 22 members of the Medical Faculty, Frank Czubayko and Thomas Worzfeld received the award on May 16th 2019 from Angela Dorn, the Minister of Science and Art of the State of Hesse.

Video presentation of the laureates

Information from the Ministry of Science and Art of the State of Hesse (HMWK)

May 2019

Retreat at the Castle Rauischholzhausen

Foto: Hana Sustovà

On May 16th and 17th, we had a joint retreat of the Biochemical-Pharmacological Center and the Marburg Graduate School on “Membrane Plasticity” at the picturesque Castle Rauischholzhausen. 11 research groups of the Faculties of Medicine, Pharmacy and Biology of the University of Marburg spent two fascinating days with great talks and intense and fruitful discussions. An exciting collaborative meeting, made possible by the generous funding of the UMR 2027 initiative of Marburg University!

May 2019

Defense Laura Soto Hinojosa

Foto: Sylvia Krippner

On Tuesday, May 14th, 2019, Laura Soto Hinojosa successfully defended her thesis with the title „MRTF/SRF-dependent transcriptional regulation for bleb-associated cell invasion and entosis”.

Congratulations, Laura, and all the best for your future research as Postdoc at the Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG) in Barcelona!

February 2019

Tumor-associated macrophages play an important role for the synthesis of lysophosphatidic acid (LPA) in the ovarian cancer tumor microenvironment

A research team of the University of Marburg and the Max-Planck-Institute for Heart and Lung Research, including Dominique Brandt, Robert Grosse and Thomas Worzfeld, discovered that the concentrations of lysophosphatidic acid (LPA) in the ascites of ovarian cancer patients are strongly elevated. This correlates with patient survival. Further analyses showed that tumor-associated macrophages crucially contribute to lysophosphatidic acid (LPA) synthesis.

January 2019

New Year's Party 2019

Foto: Christine

On January, 20th, 2019, the Institute of Pharmacology celebrated the arrival of the New Year.

A happy and successful 2019 to everyone!