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EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

Prof. Dr. Karl-Wilhelm Koch

MANAGEMENT

Dr. Nina Gaßmann

 +49 441/ 798 5475

 +49 441/ 798 19 5475

NEWS

Conference of the Research Center at the HWK in November 2017

The conference of the Research Center Neurosensory Science will take place on 24 November 2017 at the Hanse-Wissenschaftskolleg in Delmenhorst. This year, the newly-appointed professors will again be the focus of the conference and present their work areas and their research topics with regard to neurosensory science and network themselves within the research center. Another goal of the conference is to generate and promote new joint research projects. Further information and the conference program will follow shortly.

General meeting of the Research Centre on 13 June 2017

On June 13, 2017, the annual general meeting of the Research Centre Neurosensory Science was held in the Nessy research construction.
The managing director of the RCN, Karl-Wilhelm Koch, again presented the activities of the RCN from July 2016 to June 2017 by means of a PPT presentation and welcomed the four new RCN members who have perceived the possibility of a personal presentation. The elapsed reporting period was marked by the fact that by the end of the SFBs 
"The active hearing", the close conclusion of the cluster of excellence and the Research Training Group "Molecular Basis of Sensory Biology", the past months were used for the conception and application of new collaborative research areas and other third-party projects. In addition to project applications and intensive promotion of young talents, which contribute to the good development of the RCN, some public events such as the Science Slam, which was conducted for the 7th time, and the Career Day Neuroscience with over 130 participants, which was carried out for the third time, were (co)organized by the RCN.
In the wake of the so-called compulsory part of the General Assembly, two young scientists presented their slam contributions from the 7th Oldenburg science Slam:
Laura Wolter (PhD candidate at the SFB-Roseobacter in the  ICBM and runner-up at this year's science slam and winner of the Special Prize of the RCN board for the best slam contribution with neurosensory science cover), presents her slam contribution with the topic  "We have to talk.
Jannik Ehrich (PhD candidate in theoretical physics/thermodynamics, Institute of Physics and winner of this year's slams) introduced his slam contribution with the topic "How information drives microscopic machines".
The general meeting ended with a little coffee chat.

3rd Career Day Neuroscience

The third 'Career Day Neuroscience' at the University of Oldenburg will take place on March 31, 2017, in the research construction Nessy (W30) on the campus Wechloy. In the morning, students from the master's degree programs "Neuroscience" and "Neurocognitive Psychology" (University of Oldenburg) as well as  "Neurosciences" (University of Bremen) organize a student symposium. Students who wish to present their research projects with a poster at the student symposium can still register until March 24th, 2017: neuroscience-careerday@uol.de
In the career day itself, from 13.30 o'clock, a wide range of insights into several career fields, such as science, industry, Research & Development, Science management, marketing, etc., are taught to facilitate the career entry for graduates of the aforementioned neuroscience courses.

The following speakers come to Oldenburg:
Dr. Dorothe Poggel-Hanse-Science college Delmenhorst
Dr. Leon Huarez Paz (Boston Scientific Group)
Dr. Filipa Campos Viola (IAB GmbH)
Stella Frerichs (Rehab center Oldenburg, Clinic for Neurorehabilitation)
Dr. Veronika Littmann (SIVANTOS, the hearing company)
Dr. Bob Cardinal-Hertie Institute for Clinical Brain Research
Prof. Dr. Bastian EPP (DTU-Technical University of Denmark, Department of Electrical Engineering, Copenhagen).
There is the possibility to discuss personal questions about career entry with the above mentioned persons, to exchange ideas with each other and to have a CV-check carried out. The Foundation and Innovation Centre (FIC) will also be represented with a stand and advise on independence and spin-off as a professional perspective. For the physical well-being during the day is catered for. Further information and the current program can be viewed at:
www.neuroscience-careerday.uni-oldenburg.de/index.html

Recast of the Order of the Research Centre Neurosensory Science adopted by the Senate

The recast of the Order of the Research Centre Neurosensory Science was passed on 02.11.2016 by the Senate and thus comes into force in the 03.11.2016. Previously, the faculty councils of the Faculties III, V and VI were dealt with and the approval of the Presidium was also sought. 

With the recasting of order, the Research Centre Neurosensory Science is given a sustainable basis for future scientific cooperation and interdisciplinary integration. The new centre order also reflects the reorganization of the research centre, which has now been carried out, and allows for a better involvement of the clinically active scientists.

Karl-Wilhelm Koch once again elected managing director of the Research Centre Neurosensory Science

The reelection of the Managing Director of the Research Centre Neurosensory Science (RCN) was carried out at the board meeting of the Research Centre Neurosensory Science on 26.10.2016. In advance, the five sections of the RCN had chosen their section spokespersons for the next two years.

Karl-Wilhelm Koch was unanimously re-elected as executive director of the RCN for the next two years.
At the same time, two new members were added to the RCN: Dr. Inga Maren Schepers and Dr. Anna-Maria Hartmann (both in the postdoc phase) will enrich the cooperation within the Research Centre in the future. In the summer semester 2016, Prof. Gabriele Gerlach and Prof. Christoph Lienau were recorded as members of the RCN.

The scientists who have already left the University of Oldenburg, Prof. Sarah Verhulst, Prof. Jürgen Bauer and Prof. Sabine Aisenbrey, remain in the Research Centre as future associated members and will enable interdisciplinary RCN across national borders.

In total, the RCN currently has 60 full and associated members.

General meeting of the Research Centre Neurosensory Science on June 24th, 2016

On June 24th, 2016, the annual general meeting of the Research Centre Neurosensory Science took place. More than 20 members of the centre were gathered in the Nessy research construction in order to review the time since the last General Assembly.

The executive director of the RCN, Karl-Wilhelm Koch, presented the activities of the RCN from July 2015 to June 2016 on the basis of a PPT presentation and highlighted some highlights: Several successful collaborative projects as well as new and highly endowed third-party funding projects mark the expired reporting period. In addition to successful project applications and intensive promotion of young talents, which contribute to the good development of the RCN, several public events, such as the Science Slam, which was conducted for the 6th time, and the RCN conference, which was organized for the second time at the HWK, in which working groups from Groningen as well as joint projects with the clinicians and Mrs Aisenbrey could present themselves as a recalled professor, have been organized by the RCN. The Executive Board of the RCN has initiated this year a special prize for the best slam contribution with Neurosensory Science cover, which is to be awarded in future slams. 

 

After the so-called compulsory part of the members ' meeting, two young scientists and their slam contributions provided amusement to the present members of the research centre:
Bianca Brüggen, PhD candidate in the Neurosensorics group/Dept. for neuroscience and winner at this year's science slam, presented her slam-post with the theme "Super Mario Bros. - Are you on the same page?".

Jörg Robin, PhD candidate in the Ultra-fast Nano-optics group/Institute of Physics, introduced his slam-contribution with the topic "Top-research".

Following this, the two new research devices (MEG and MRT) by Jochen Rieger and Christiane Thiel were shown to the present members of the RCN and were given an insight into the possibilities of application by means of currently ongoing projects. Subsequently, Stefan Uppenkamp led the interested parties through further laboratories in the Nessy research facility. 

Annual meeting of the Research Centre Neurosensory Science gathered on 7th March 2016 more than 35 neuroscientists from Oldenburg and Groningen to intensive scientific exchange

The Research Centre Neurosensory Science (RCN) completed its annual meeting on 7th March 2016 at the Hanse-Science College in Delmenhorst. The focus of this year's meeting was the deepening of the cooperation with scientists from the University of Groningen and the presentation of joint research projects in the RCN with the clinically active colleagues of the newly founded Faculty of Medicine and Health sciences.

The intensive conference program with broad neurosensory topics required the participants to concentrate on the entire course, but offered a wide range of discussion points and ideas for future cooperation projects.

In the morning the foreground focused on topics from the neurosensory area of listening, whereas in the afternoon the diversity of neurosensory research areas such as tactile sensors, visual dysfunctions, neuroimaging and nerve regeneration was demonstrated.

As a recalled colleague and member of the Research Centre, Prof. Sabine Aisenbrey, director of the Ophthalmology clinic at Pius-Hospital Oldenburg, presented her research interests.

The presentation of Deniz Baskent about auditory perception with the help of cochlear implants and the necessary improvements to optimize the comprehensibility in various communication situations was particularly exciting. The lecture by Thomas Kretschmer, clinic director of Neurosurgery at the Evangelical Hospital in Oldenburg, at the end of the meeting, clarified the importance of cooperation and professional exchange with neurobiologists, in order to simultaneously provide patient-oriented and basic molecular research. In this sense, it is hoped that even more joint projects will be created to provide a more practical reference for students during their studies and, on the other hand, to provide patients with scientific knowledge so they can benefit from the most modern laboratory technology of the university.

Both in the plenary and in the discussions in smaller groups during and after the official program, it became apparent how important such events are, where interdisciplinary thinking and action are critical to project ideas and research results and gives new Impetus.

New managing director of the Research Centre Neurosensory Science elected

In connection with the preparation of the university's development plan of Oldenburg, the Executive Board of the Research Centre Neurosensory Science selected a new managing director at his meeting at 28.09.2015. Karl-Wilhelm Koch, head of the biochemistry Working Group and spokesman for the DFG Research Training Group "Molecular Basis of Sensory Biology", was unanimously elected as the new managing director of the Research Centre Neurosensory Science.

The new management Board of the Research Centre includes the following scientists:

The section spokesman for section 1 "Molecular & Cellular Neuroscience" - Karl-Wilhelm Koch,
the section spokesperson for the Section 2 "Behavioural & Cognitive Neuroscience" – Christiane Thiel,
The section spokesman for the section 3 "Psychoacoustics & Signal Processing" - Georg Martin Klump,
the section spokesman of Section 4 "Computational & Systems Neuroscience" - Jannis Hildebrandt and
the section spokesman of Section 5 "Clinical Neuroscience" - Hans Gerd Nothwang.

In total, the Research Center Neurosensory Science currently has 55 members, including 42 professors.

Superresolution Workshop - gated STED

The RTG Molecular Basis of Sensory Biology and the Research Center Neurosensory Science invite to the

Workshop
Superresolution - Leica Confocal Systems Solution
January 21st-23rd 2014

 

 

 

Sun Compass Orientation Helps Coral Reef Fish Larvae Return to Their Natal Reef

Foto: Gabriele Gerlach

Reef fish sustain populations on isolated reefs and show genetic diversity between nearby reefs even though larvae of many species are swept away from the natal site during pelagic dispersal. Retention or recruitment to natal reefs requires orientation capabilities that enable larvae to find their way. Although olfactory and acoustically based orientation has been implicated in homing when larvae are in the reef’s vicinity, it is still unclear how they cope with greater distances. Here we show evidence for a sun compass mechanism that can bring the larvae to the vicinity of their natal reef. In a circular arena, pre-settlement larvae and early settlers (<24 hours) of the cardinal fish, Ostorhinchus doederleini, showed a strong SSE directional swimming response, which most likely has evolved to compensate for the locally prevailing large scale NNW current drift. When fish were clock-shifted 6 hours, they changed their orientation by ca. 180° as predicted by the tropical sun curve at One Tree Island, i.e. they used a time-compensated sun compass. Furthermore, the fish oriented most consistently at times of the day when the sun azimuth is easy to determine. Microsatellite markers showed that the larvae that had just arrived at One Tree Island genetically belonged to either the local reef population or to Fitzroy Reef located 12 kilometers to the SSE. The use of a sun compass adds a missing long-distance link to the hierarchy of other sensory abilities that can direct larvae to the region of origin, including their natal reef. Predominant local recruitment, in turn, can contribute to genetic isolation and potential speciation.

Citation: Mouritsen H, Atema J, Kingsford MJ, Gerlach G (2013) Sun Compass Orientation Helps Coral Reef Fish Larvae Return to Their Natal Reef. PLoS ONE 8(6): e66039. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0066039

The Recycling of Cells

Researching cellular survival strategies: Prof. Dr. Christiane Richter-Landsberg, pictured here with a fluorescence microscope. The computer screen shows a cell that has been stained with fluorescent pigments.

Why do neurodegenerative diseases develop and what role does "autophagy", a cellular self-cleaning process, play in the brain? An interview with molecular biologist Christiane Richter-Landsberg.

"The Brain in Health and Disease" is the title of this year's "Oldenburger Schlossgespräche" panel discussion. Is well-being just as much a natural state of the brain as its decay?

RICHTER-LANDSBERG: The brain is our life. This is where our thinking, memory and feeling take place. We owe our capability of speech and intelligence to the brain. Hundred billions of nerve cells send signals and receive them, with the aid of billions of other cells, the so-called glial cells. Our brain is extremely sensitive to disturbances, and this manifests itself in massive functional failures, for example memory loss or motor disturbances. The well-being of our brain is essential for our ability to survive and for the quality of life. Our goal should be to avoid and combat "ailments" caused by an unhealthy lifestyle, but also by the natural aging process and by neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer and Parkinson.

And what is the focus of your research?

RICHTER-LANDSBERG: Our brain cells have an extremely complex design. They have an intricate structure, a highly developed system to support the cellular morphology and are in close contact with each other. My research in cellular and molecular biology focuses on the factors that make this complex cell morphology possible under "healthy conditions" – and how the cells communicate with each other. Another focus of my work is analysing the molecular causes of pathological changes, specifically those in glial cells, which occur in degenerative processes of the nervous system and during aging.

And what are the key factors in such degenerative diseases?


RICHTER-LANDSBERG: In the brains of patients with Alzheimer or Parkinson disease and other diseases which involve memory loss or motor disturbances one can observe pathological protein aggregates, typical clumps of proteins. The questions I am trying to find answers to are: How do these clumps develop? How do they damage cells? And how can those cells perhaps be saved?

Your research also focuses on autophagy, a self-cleaning process of the cells. What exactly does this entail?


RICHTER-LANDSBERG: In the course of evolution cells have developed a strategy for breaking down cellular proteins or even entire organelles - for instance mitochondria, the power plants of our cells - that are no longer needed and to reuse the breakdown products of that process in the cell metabolism. This can be described as a kind of recycling process, an efficient form of waste disposal. With the help of this process, known as autophagy, even large clumps of protein and cellular waste produced in the course of a disease can be disposed of.

If such a waste disposal system exists, why do the pathological protein deposits develop in the first place?


RICHTER-LANDSBERG: This is one of the key questions that scientists in this field are trying to answer. Cellular stress situations play an important role here, for example inflammatory processes or aging processes. During such stress situations proteins may be produced or modified and increasingly develop into insoluble forms. Also, in a number of diseases, genetic defects result in defective proteins or in the increased production of proteins which then may form aggregates. The consequence is that the breakdown systems may be overloaded and impaired and no longer have sufficient capacity to deal with the waste. But it may also be that the autophagic process itself is either weakened or defective.

That means that a malfunction in this process can lead to disease?

RICHTER-LANDSBERG: Yes, there are now many indications that this is the case. A malfunction or weakening of the autophagic mechanism can have fatal consequences and result in diseases like cancer, Alzheimer or Parkinson. In my research group we have been able to demonstrate that defective quality control in brain cells and disruptions in the systems for breaking down proteins contribute to the pathological processes. We have published our latest results in international science journals like the Journal of Neurochemistry, PlosOne, and Glia.

So is it possible to alter or influence the cellular self-cleaning process called autophagy in order to prevent the onset of neurodegenerative diseases?

RICHTER-LANDSBERG: Here, too, we have positive results. So far these investigations have only been performed on cell culture model systems and so-called transgenic mice into which foreign genetic material has been introduced or autophagy-relevant genes have been knocked out. In these animals increased formation of the typical protein clumps could be observed, which could then be removed by using certain substances to activate the autophagic mechanism. At the same time these animals exhibited improved learning and memory performance.

So is there a chance that at some point in the future neurodegenerative diseases will be curable?

RICHTER-LANDSBERG: Unfortunately up to now there are only therapeutic means that can delay the progression of the disease, but not cure them. However fabulous advances have been made in recent decades, and our immensely widened knowledge has improved our understanding of the fundamental molecular- and cellular-biological processes in these diseases. There has also been an enormous improvement in the diagnostic possibilities. Moreover the research activities in the area of neurodegenerative diseases are receiving increasing support in Germany, too. People have realised that in our aging population the number of patients will continue to rise, and that this represents a serious social problem. I am therefore very confident that in the next ten years we will find new therapeutic strategies that at least delay the onset of the diseases.

Prof. Dr. Christiane Richter-Landsberg has lectured in "molecular neurobiology" at Oldenburg since 1993. She studied pharmaceutics in Marburg and obtained her doctoral degree in biology in Göttingen. After spending time studying in Israel and the US she acquired her habilitation in Bremen in 1988. Her research focuses on nerve cells and glia, stress responses and the impact of stress proteins on brain cells.

German President Joachim Gauck has awarded Prof. Dr. Dr. Birger Kollmeier, Prof. Dr. Volker Hohmann and Dr. Torsten Niederdränk the Deutscher Zukunftspreis 2012.

(f.l.t.r.) Dr.-Ing. Torsten Niederdränk, Prof. Dr. rer.nat. Dr. med. Birger Kollmeier, Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Volker Hohmann

In the presence of numerous illustrious guests from academia and industry, the team from the Institute of Physics and the Center of Excellence for Hearing Research, the University of Oldenburg and Siemens AG, Munich, has received the German President's Award for Technology and Innovation for their project "Binaural Hearing Aids - Stereo Hearing for Everyone".

The honoured scientists succeeded in laying the technical foundation for innovative hearing systems in which two hearing devices, one worn on the left and one on the right ear, are coupled and work together to compensate for the individual hearing loss. The system also uses an original diagnostic method and mathematical algorithms.
This allows hearing impaired individuals in future to hear better, specifically in rooms with an echo, when several people are talking at once, and despite loud background noise.

Hearing poorly or not at all is a problem that is often underestimated in an aging society. The technology that is awarded the prize today will significantly improve the quality of life of the hearing impaired and make it possible for them to participate normally again in social life.

The use of binaural hearing systems is not limited to people with a limited sense of hearing. Users of consumer electronics or smart phones also soon to stand to profit from the special support of binaural hearing impressions.

The German Federal President's Award for Technology and Innovation is endowed with € 250,000 in prize money and honours both the development of the process, but also its successful market implementation.

With this innovation the team has succeeded against three other outstanding projects nominated by the jury for the final round, the "Circle of the Best". President Joachim Gauck presented these teams with a certificate in honour of their work.

Nina Gaßmann (Changed: 2018-09-17)