Foto: Sarah Beyer
Doktorandin / Drittmittel
The human brain constitutes about 2% of the body mass, yet it requires 20% of oxygen to maintain cellular functions. Under hypoxic conditions, anaerobic metabolism can only sustain normal brain function for several minutes. Ongoing hypoxia leads to ion and neurotransmitter imbalances ultimately resulting in cell death. In contrast, diving mammals have evolved physiological adaptations to cope with low oxygen supply during extended foraging dives. High oxygen blood storage, bradycardia, reduction of temperature and selective vasoconstriction form the basis of hypoxia tolerance in these mammals. Nevertheless, the brain repeatedly experiences severe hypoxia especially at the end of long dives and has developed intrinsic molecular adaptations to ensure its integrity.
Brain energy metabolism is a fine-tuned process, in which astrocytes are active contributors to brain function. Besides modulating blood flow to brain energy demands by controlling vasomotor responses of vessels, astrocytes play an important role for neuronal metabolism and survival.
Considering this tight cooperation between astrocytes and neurons in brain metabolism I aim to analyse astrocyte-specific adaptations of diving mammals. Through comparative transcriptome analyses and protein assays I will identify target genes contributing to hypoxia tolerance and detoxification in astrocytes and increase our knowledge of mechanisms involved in cellular defence against hypoxia insults and damage.
08/2022 – Present
PhD student „Molecular adaptations to hypoxia of the brain of diving mammals”
2016 - 2021 M. Sc. Biology at the University Hamburg
“Zika virus infection in neuronal cells: the role of importin-α proteins”
Leibniz Institute of Virology, Research Department Viral Zoonoses – One health
10/2005 - 08/2008 B. Sc. in Biology at the Philipps-University Marburg
“Studies on the embryonic expression of gamma-protocadherins in the craniofacial mesenchyme and in heart development of mice” Research Department of Zoology