IFIB – Interfakultäres Institut für Biochemie

Rafiq group - neuronal cell biology

We are a new lab in the Interfaculty Institute for Biochemistry (IFIB) at the University of Tübingen in Germany.
We are interested in neuronal cell biology, with an emphasis on the cytoskeleton-membrane interactions in neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. 

The vast majority (>90%) of patients clinically diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s diseases (AD, PD) do not have a clear genetic etiology. Research in the last decades have identified multiple candidate genes causal for the development of early-onset forms of these diseases, yet little is known on what triggers the late-onset forms. How can we correlate known early-onset genes with unknown triggers of the late-onset forms? Are there intersections where non-genetic factors directly influence cellular processes leading to the observed pathological hallmarks of neurodegeneration.

​Our work will leverage insights from genetic and physical processes in cells to understand how the relationship between biochemical and mechanical deficits converge and influence the course of neurodegeneration. We hope to take advantage of new data including non-genetic views that will require new concepts and advanced biophysical tools to corroborate late-onset markers (e.g. protein aggregates) with genetic origins of the diseases.

Visit our lab website at https://www.nisharafiqlab.com/ to learn more about our research