Translational postdoc projects
BIH supports the following projects within the BIH Biomadical Academy funding line "Translational Postdoc Grants":
Identification of therapeutically relevant key factors in vascular calcification
Dr. Ioana Alesutan (Charité)
Host team: Prof. Burkert Pieske, Charité & Prof. Dominik N. Müller, MDC
Project summary: Vascular calcification (VC) is a currently untreatable but decisive cardiovascular risk factor. VC is an active process governed mainly by vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs). This project aims to identify key signaling pathways underlying VSMC calcification and will focus on a possible translational therapeutic application. In an untargeted approach, OMICs-derived signaling cascades will be analysed for a contribution to VC. In a targeted approach, the role of aldosterone and PI3K-dependent pathways during VC will be investigated. Studies will be based on an integrated analysis from human and animal tissues. Experiments will be performed in close collaboration between MDC/Charite in vitro and in animal models of VC. These results will be translated into clinical investigations at the Charite, Berlin. This project may identify key signalling cascades of VC as therapeutic targets and support the subsequent translation towards a possible treatment strategy into clinical practice.
Inhibition of Protein Kinase A in skeletal muscle development, regeneration and disease
Dr. Maciej Czajkowski (MDC)
Host team: Dr Oliver Rocks, MDC & Prof. Simone Spuler, Charité
Project summary: PKA is a key mediator of GPCR signaling, controlling essential processes such as development or metabolism. It must be precisely regulated to elicit specific cellular responses. Failure to keep PKA under control contributes to serious disorders, including cancer. We have previously identified a novel GTPase regulatory protein to be a strong PKA antagonist, combining two inhibitory mechanisms to effectively block PKA signaling. The inhibitor protein is specifically expressed in embryonic skeletal muscles and upregulated in patients with myopathies. Myogenesis is known to involve PKA signaling at different stages, but the underlying processes are not elaborated. Goal of this proposal is a) to study the role of the PKA inhibitor in muscle development by conditional gene targeting in mice and thus to gain new insights into context-specific PKA function and b) to explore the therapeutic potential of improving muscle regeneration by interfering with PKA. This study will open new avenues in research on PKA and the treatment of myopathies.