Department of Neurology, University Medical Center, RWTH Aachen, Germany
Jörg Schulz is a clinical neurologist and Full Professor and Chair of Neurology at the Department of Neurology, RWTH University of Aachen. His research interests are the pathogenesis of neurodegenerative diseases, neuronal cell death mechanisms, gene therapy and other experimental therapeutics. Clinically, he has utilized different structural and functional MR techniques to study neurodegenerative disorders. He has conducted several clinical studies in Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and Friedreich’s ataxia as the principal investigator. He is a member of the “Jülich-Aachen-Research Alliance (JARA) – Translational Brain Medicine” and currently the principal investigator of a clinical patient registry for longitudinal studies in Friedreich’s ataxia, a rare, autosomal-recessively inherited neuromuscular disorder, as well as the CEO of the Clinical Trials Center Aachen (CTC-A) and the Center for rare diseases Aachen (ZSEA).
BioISI – Institute for BioSystems and Integrative Sciences, Faculty of Sciences, University of Lisbon
Margarida Gama-Carvalho is currently a tenured Assistant Professor at the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Faculty of Sciences of the University of Lisbon and head the Gene Expression and Regulation Research Group at BioISI. Her research interests focus on understanding RNA based mechanisms regulating vertebrate gene expression programs through the combination of biochemical, transcriptomics and bioinformatics approaches. As part of an ongoing collaboration with Prof. David Van Vactor, Harvard Medical School, USA, her group has been performing a comparative analysis of fly and human SMA gene expression profiles in neuronal tissues using high depth RNA-seq and bioinformatics approaches focusing on the identification of SMN-dependent changes in mRNA isoform synthesis. The resulting knowledge, which provides an enhanced emphasis on the developmental and MN differentiation aspects of SMA, will be integrated into the FlySMALs project.
Institute of Neuropathology, Medical Faculty RWTH Aachen University
Joachim Weis is currently chair of the Institute of Neuropathology, RWTH Aachen University Hospital and heads the Reference Centre for Neuromuscular Diseases of the German Society of Neuropathology and Neuroanatomy (DGNN) and the German Motor Neuron Disease Tissue Bank consortium within the Motor Neuron Disease Network currently funded by the German Ministry of Science and Education (BMBF). This tissue bank provides an extensive repository of autopsy material from MN disease patients. Dr. Weiss’s research interests bring together basic research approaches with clinicopathological assessments in MN diseases, currently focusing on endoplasmic reticulum (ER) pathology as well as autophagy and related cellular processes.
Bioinformatics and Functional Genomics Group Cancer Research Center (CiC-IBMCC, CSIC/USAL)
Dr. Javier De Las Rivas is a faculty member of the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas and University of Salamanca (CSIC/USAL) and Director of the Bioinformatics and Functional Genomics Research Group at the Cancer Research Center (CiC-IBMCC) in Salamanca, Spain. The research group he has been leading since 2003 focuses on human protein-protein interactions (PPIs), interactomes and protein networks (with application to the study of different pathologial states) as well as genomics data and pathway analyses, with a particular emphasis on cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.
Department of Neurology, Medical Faculty RWTH Aachen University
Aaron Voigt is currently a principal investigator in the Department of Neurology, RWTH University of Aachen, heading the ‘Neurodegeneration in Drosophila’ research group. His research interests are the molecular basis of neuronal decline in neurodegenerative diseases using Drosophila as a model organism. His gorup has established and analyzed several fly models of human neurodegenerative diseases, including models for Parkinson’s disease and FUS/TDP-43 proteinopathies and houses a systematic collection of inducible RNAi lines that silence all fly genes to which a human ortholog could be assigned (derived from the Vienna Drosophila RNAi Center, VDRC). Combining this rather unique collection of flies and his expertise in fly genetics, Aaron’s group has successfully performed several high throughput-screening approaches in flies to identify genetic interactions with disease-linked gene products.
Université Cote d'Azur, CNRS, Inserm, iBV, Nice, France
Florence Besse is currently the group leader of the ‘Axon morphogenesis and local RNA regulation in Drosophila’ laboratory at the Institute of Biology Valrose (iBV), Université Cote d'Azur. Research in Florence Besse’s group aims at unravelling the mechanisms that regulate the assembly and transport of neuronal granules, and at functionally studying their physiological role. The group is combining various approaches including purification of RNP complexes from brain lysates, live-imaging of axonal RNPs in intact brains, advanced genetic analyses, and quantitative analyses of the subcellular distribution of mRNAs and their associated proteins in isolated neurons.
Professor David Van Vactor, Department of Cell Biology, Harvard Medical School,MA, USA