Dr. Leif Dehmelt

since 2011: Group leader at the MPI Dortmund, Dept. of Systemic Cell Biology
since 2007: Group leader at the TU Dortmund, Faculty of Chemistry and Chemical Biology
2000–2007: Postdoc at The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, USA, Dept. of Cell Biology
1997-2000: PhD thesis at the MPI Dortmund, Dept. of Epithelial Physiology

Research Interest
Cellular and molecular processes in the functional and morphological differentiation of neurons play a key role in the development of the brain. Misregulation of those processes, for example due to aging, mutations or intake of toxic compounds, can lead to serious brain lesions. Thus, a better understanding of the underlying cellular and molecular mechanisms is central to a fundamental and holistic understanding of normal and perturbed brain development and function.
In our lab, we study fundamental molecular and cellular processes in neuronal development and how those are affected by modulation of key cellular components. Our focus is on the cytoskeleton, as this cellular component plays a key role in defining the morphology and thereby the correct function of developing neurons. In earlier studies, we found that the main cyotoskeleton components, actin and microtubules, are coordinated with each other during the first formation of a neuronal protrusion. To understand this complex coordination of dynamic cellular components, we implement a systems biology approach that combines acute experimental perturbations, development of novel analysis technologies and mathematical modeling.

- live cell microscopy (total internal reflection fluorescence, single molecule analysis)
- development of novel protein interaction analysis methods (intracellular protein interaction arrays)

- signal network analysis and perturbation in living cells
- stem cell technologies
- morphometric high-content screening
- computational modeling

Selected Reading
Mazel T, Biesemann A, Krejczy M, Nowald J, Müller O and Dehmelt L. Direct observation of microtubule pushing by cortical dynein in living cells. Mol Biol Cell 2014, 25, 95.

Arens J, Duong T-T and Dehmelt L. A Morphometric Screen Identifies Specific Roles for Microtubule-Regulating Genes in Neuronal Development of P19 Stem Cells. PLoS One 2013, 8, e79796.

Gandor S, Reisewitz S, Venkatachalapathy M, Arrabito G, Reibner M, Schröder H, Ruf K, Niemeyer CM, Bastiaens PIH, Dehmelt L. A Protein Interaction Array Inside a Living Cell. Angew Chem Int Ed 2013, 52, 4790.

Dehmelt L and Bastiaens PI. Spatial organization of intracellular communication: insights from imaging. Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol 2010, 11(6), 440-52. 

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