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Scientific Advisory Board

Mart Saarma

Professor of biotechnology, Institute of Biotechnology, University of Helsinki

Chair of DANDRITE's Scientific Advisory Board

Mart Saarma and his group investigate structure, biology and therapeutic potantial of neurotrophic factors. He studies GDNF family of neurotrophic factors and also novel neurotrophic factors CDNF and MANF in the development and in neurodegenerative disease.

Elena Cattaneo

Elena Cattaneo

Professor at Department of Biosciences, University of Milan, Italy

Elena Cattaneo is leading the Laboratory of Stem Cell Biology and Pharmacology of Neurodegenerative Diseases, where she and her research group focus on neural stem cells, their potential application, and the neurodegenerative mechanisms of Huntington’s disease. Using different strategies, they study the mechanisms of Huntington’s disease and intervention schemes in human neurons obtained from pluripotent stem cells. The laboratory works with Huntington’s disease clinical experts in Italy and abroad, to assess the diagnostic and therapeutic potential of our research findings for clinical translation and application.

Veerle Baekelandt

Professor at Department of Neurosciences, KU Leuven - Center for Molecular Medicine, Belgium

Veerle Baekelandt and her research group in the laboratory for Neurobiology and Gene Therapy are committed to gain insight in the underlying pathology of Parkinson's Disease (PD) and more recently Multiple System Atrophy (MSA), on both the molecular and cellular level. They specifically focus on the proteins α-synuclein and LRRK2, two key players in sporadic and familial PD. The underlying idea is that better disease models and insights in the molecular pathogenesis are required to develop novel causal therapeutic strategies that can cure or slow down the disease. They make use of viral vector technology and molecular imaging as          core technologies to support their research and to develop and characterize new cellular and rodent disease models. Finally, they          are also investing in pre-clinical drug discovery through their neuro drug discovery platform.

Yang Dan


Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator and Professor of Neurobiology

Her research aims to elucidate (1) what circuits in the mammalian brain control sleep, and (2) mechanisms by which the frontal cortex exerts top-down executive control.

Photo by Georg Kristiansen

Ole Kiehn

Professor at Department of Neuroscience, University of Copenhagen

Ole Kiehn and his research group study the molecular, cellular, and network diversification of locomotor circuitries in mammals with the goal of providing a unified understanding of the functional organization of neuronal circuits that execute movements.

Rüdiger Klein

Professor at Max-Planck-Institute of Neurobiology

Acting chair of DANDRITE's Scientific Advisory Board

At the Department for Molecules, Signaling, and Development, Prof. Rüdiger Klein's group is interested in understanding the principles of cell-cell communication in the developing and mature nervous system. Besides development, they are also interested in understanding how specific neuron populations contribute to certain types of behavior of adult mice. Furthermore, they also study the molecular mechanisms of neurodegeneration and neuroprotection. 

Glenda Halliday

Professor at Faculty of Medicine, University of New South Wales & Neuroscience Research Australia

Professor Glenda Halliday works on identifying and understanding the pathobiology of different stages of neurodegeneration, knowledge necessary for the development of therapies and strategies for the prevention of neurodegenerative syndromes. Her research has highlighted broader pathological involvement in Parkinson's disease and dementia with Lewy bodies, with recent work suggesting that lysosome dysfunction and immunity are involved. Her basic research is highly cited, with core concepts incorporated into current consensus diagnostic criteria for different non-Alzheimer dementias and Parkinson’s disease.

Matthias Wilmanns

Head of the Hamburg Unit of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL)
Research Director of the Center for Structural Systems Biology (CSSB)

Matthias Willmanns' research group investigates a variety of protein-ligand complexes within the context of biological systems, employing a broad range of molecular and structural biology techniques, namely locally available synchrotron radiation facilities and the future Free Electron Laser in Hamburg. Their specific research interests are on: the architecture of the protein interactome in sarcomeric muscle cells, activity regulation in protein kinases, the architecture of the translocon of peroxisomes, structural                 systems biology in M. tuberculosis.

Carl Petersen

Professor at the Brain Mind Institute, Laboratory of Sensory Processing, EPFL-SV-BMI-LSENS, Switzerland