October 20, 2022
German Cancer Research Center / Communication Center
Europe/Berlin timezone

The PDN Committee and the BioMed X Institute

The Lunch Talks are back! After 2 years of absence, the DKFZ Postdoc Network and BioMed X are proud to announce the relaunch of the Lunch Talks, a space to discuss science and data in a relaxed environment and with tasty snacks. 

We look forward to seeing you there on October 20th. Please note that spaces are limited and registration is mandatory. If you register and cannot make it, please cancel your registration at least 48 hours in advance.

 

Lunch Talk by Moritz Mall - presented by BioMed X and the DKFZ PostDoc Network.

 

"Engineering human neurons: Building preclinical models to study treatments for mental disorders"

 

by Moritz Mall, Hector Institute for Translational Brain Research, German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ).

Host: Gorjana Rackov

In the “Lunch Talk Series", group leaders from BioMed X Institute and the PostDoc Network of the German Cancer Research Center invite renowned life scientists to share their research and foster scientific exchanges.

When: Thursday, 20 October 2022, 11:00 am

Where: DKFZ Communication Center K1-K2 Rooms, Im Neuenheimer Feld 280, Heidelberg

 
About Moritz Mall                                                    
Hector Institute for Translational Brain Research
German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ)
 
Dr. Moritz Mall is a research group leader at the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ). His lab combines animal models, stem cells, and cell fate engineering to reconstruct and investigate human development and disease. After studying biochemistry and molecular biology at the LMU in Munich and the ETH in Zurich, he received his PhD from the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg for his mechanistic studies on cell division. For his DFG-funded postdoctoral fellowship, he joined the laboratory of Prof. Marius Wernig at the Institute of Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine at Stanford University to study cell fate determination during reprogramming, development, and disease. Returning to Germany in 2018, Dr. Mall was awarded an ERC-starting grant, and his lab became one of three founding groups of the newly formed Hector Institute for Translational Brain Research (HITBR) that develops stem cell technologies to study and identify new treatments for devastating brain disorders with a focus on psychiatric diseases and brain malignancies.
 
Abstract


Mental disorders such as autism spectrum disorder (ASD) affect almost 2% of children in the US and represent a significant social and financial burden. Due to the complex etiology and underlying genetics, ASD is poorly understood with no effective treatments.
 
We recently found that the neuron-specific transcription repressor Myt1l enhances neuronal cell identity. Myt1l is expressed in virtually all neurons throughout life, and its loss in postmitotic neurons impairs neuronal gene expression and function, suggesting a role in maintaining cell fate. Unlike known repressors such as REST which specifically silences neuronal genes in non-neuronal cells, Myt1l represses many non-neuronal programs in neurons, acting as a novel “many-but-one” repressor. Myt1l mutations occur in mental disorders, such as autism, suggesting that failure to repress non-neuronal genes could contribute to brain diseases.
 
We generate genetically-engineered stem-cell-derived human neurons and mice to address this question. Using these preclinical models, we show that MYT1L deficiency causes upregulation of non-neuronal genes and is sufficient to induce autism-associated phenotypes ranging from altered gene expression and neurodevelopment to behavioral phenotypes. Unexpectedly, we found that continuous loss of MYT1L affected synaptic gene expression and transmission and that acute application of approved drugs rescued the electrical phenotypes in postmitotic mouse and human neurons, providing a potential therapeutic avenue for patients with MYT1L syndrome. Our work showcases how stem cell technologies allow studying mental disorders in human neurons and how combining mouse and human models offers unique opportunities to decipher novel disease-causing mechanisms and preclinical translational strategies.

Registration

Please note that spaces are extremely limited so registration is mandatory. If you register and cannot make it, please cancel your registration at least 48 hours in advance so someone from the waiting list will be invited.

 

 


VENUE

DKFZ
Communication Center, K1+K2
Im Neuenheimer Feld 280, Heidelberg


ORGANIZERS

  The Postdoc Network Committee and the BioMed X Institute 

   

    

Starts
Ends
Europe/Berlin
German Cancer Research Center / Communication Center
K1-K2
Im Neuenheimer Feld 280 69120 Heidelberg Germany
Registration
Registration for this event is currently open.