Center for Molecular Neurobiology Hamburg

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Center for Molecular Neurobiology Hamburg

Founded in 1987 as the first center for fundamental research in the molecular neurobiology of the Federal Republic of Germany, today comprises five institutes, eight research groups, three guest research groups and seven core facilities. It is advised by the Scientific Advisory Board of the ZMNH in the strategic orientation of its research. The establishment of the Centre for Molecular Neurobiology Hamburg (ZMNH) took place in 1987 in the Department of Medicine, University of Hamburg. It was the first research center with a focus on molecular neurobiology in Germany. Dietmar Richter was appointed to the founding director, who held the management of the ZMNH until the inauguration of the new center in 1996. In 1988 the center was able to start work with five junior groups. Cornelis Grimmelikhuijzen was the first to be called to Heidelberg from Heidelberg; Followed by Eckart Gundelfinger, Thomas Jentsch, Craig Garner and Fritz Rathjen. These five scientists, together with their staff, bore the burden of setting up labs and developing the center. In the following years four institute directors, Chica Schaller, Olaf Pongs, Thomas Jentsch and Melitta Schachner were appointed. Two interim buildings served the center for eight years as a workplace. The founding phase ended in 1996 with the purchase of the new building at Falkenried 94, and also the activity of the founding director, who once again stated in his speech on initiation: "Promotion by means of funds from the city or the Confederation was certainly an important prerequisite for research dynamics in one Such as the center. The creativity, ideas and initiative of individuals are, however, in demand, in order to continue to shape the center in the following, certainly not easier, expansion phase. "The fact that the ZMNH will host five institutes, eight research groups, two guests in 2015 Research groups and seven core facilities . Training of graduate students and postdoctoral fellows is an integral part of the mission of the ZMNH. A Graduate Program in Molecular Biology was established at the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf in 1986 to promote in a multi-disciplinary approach the ability for scientific thinking and working. This Graduate Program presents molecular biology and neuroscience within a broader context of the basic sciences and biomedicine. Fundamental (basic) and clinical (applied) aspects are explored and are integrated with relevant areas of other disciplines. This course, which is organized by the ZMNH, is of particular value to those who plan an academic career in biomedical research or in a related industry. Several proteins that are key to synaptic function were first cloned and characterized at the ZMNH, for example the presynaptic proteins Piccolo (PCLO) and Bassoon and the major organizer of the postsynaptic density, PSD-95 (a.k.a. SAP90). Synaptic activity controls the activity of certain genes, the so-called immediate early genes. Arg3.1/Arc, a prominent example of this gene family, was discovered at the ZMNH and found to have important functions in learning and memory. An early focus of the center was understanding the structure and function of ion channels. The famous ball-and-chain mechanism of potassium channel inactivation was discovered at the ZMNH. A number of human diseases (hereditary forms of myotonia, osteopetrosis, retinal degeneration, kidney stone diseases, epilepsy, and deafness) could be mapped to mutations in specific ion channels. These fundamental insights allowed researchers to mimic important aspects of human diseases in genetically accurate animal models, a key step in the development of new drugs.