Steering Committee

Our steering committee consists of our spokesperson, our vice-spokesperson, 2 PIs, our coordinator, a student´s ombudsperson (PI or postdoc, elected by our students) and 2 student representatives (1 PhD and 1 MD student). The members of the steering committee are committed to report to the DFG, mediate in case of conflicts, coordinate public outreach, manage all administrative hurdles and organize the educational program.


Prof. Dr. Daniela Dieterich

Spokesperson RTG2413, Dean of the Medical Faculty, Director of the Institute for Pharmacology and Toxicology, & PI of Neural Plasticity and Communication

The work in my lab concentrates on the molecular and cellular underpinnings of protein homeostasis at the multipartite synapse and their consequences for brain function during aging. My major goals within the graduate program SynAGE is to guide young scientists along their ways to develop their very own line of research, to support the intersection of ideas across disciplines, and thereby to catalyze discovery.

Prof. Dr. Oliver Stork

Head of the Department of Genetics and Molecular Neurobiology, Institute of Biology, OVGU

My work is devoted to the understanding of molecular mechanisms that mediate information processing in the brain and the control of behavior. In my group we are particularly interested in long-term change in GABAergic interneurons that control local circuit activity as well as extended network activity patterns in the limbic brain system. Our focus lies on unraveling the intracellular pathways controlling homeostatic plasticity in both GABAergic and their excitatory target neurons. We address the role of these cells with molecular and physiological tools in cell culture, genetically manipulated mice and following acut viral interventions. 

Prof. Dr. Constanze Seidenbecher

Committee member, LIN

I am a group leader at the Leibniz Institute for Neurobiology (LIN) Magdeburg. My scientific interests are devoted to synaptic molecules and the brain extracellular matrix and their role in neuroplasticity and cognitive functions.

I am member of the Board of directors of the Center for Behavioral Brain Sciences (CBBS) Magdeburg, steering committee member of the SFB „Neurobiology of motivated behavior“ and deputy speaker of the graduate school ABINEP. In 2019 I was elected as council member of the International Society for Neurochemistry (ISN).

My aim is to further support excellent young scientists – with a special focus on female researchers – by connecting, inspiring and promoting young careers in SynAGE and beyond.

Dr. Michael R. Kreutz

Committee member, LIN

My research in NPlast in Magdeburg and DOF in Hamburg is concerned with fundamental questions on how synapses communicate with the nucleus, how gene activity-dependent gene expression feeds back to synaptic function and how this is related to the formation of a cellular engram and last but not least how the nanoscale organization of the synapse determines functional properties in the context of learning and memory. We use a multi-disciplinary approach with studies ranging from single molecules to in vivo animal experimentation. We also address translational aspects where we try to understand whether the processes that we investigate might be relevant for disease. The Leibniz Group ‚Dendritic Organelles and Synaptic Function‘ at the ZMNH in Hamburg investigates how microsecretory systems and organelles in neurites are involved in synaptic function. We are interested in organelles like autophagosomes, lysosomes, and Golgi satellites and their local contribution to neurotransmission.

Prof. Dr. Dr. Anne Albrecht

PI at Neuroanatomy, Institute of Anatomy, OVGU & Ombudsperson SynAGE

My work aims for understanding neuronal mechanisms of stress resilience and vulnerability. Usually individuals cope well with aversive experiences, but if they become too intense or last too long, stress-induced neuropsychopathologies such as anxiety disorders or depression can occur. Using different models of stress in juvenile and adult rodents, we study how stress across the life span affects anxiety, learning and memory. Specifically we are interested on how such stress experiences shape local GABAergic interneuron circuits, signaling by modulatory neuropeptides as well as astrocyte-neuron-interactions in the dorsal and ventral hippocampus. To that end, we utilize biochemical and molecular tools such as high-resolution gene expression analysis with laser microdissection and quantitative PCR and combine it with testing emotional and cognitive functions in transgenic mice and after acute pharmacological and viral interventions.

Natalia Waal

PhD Student Project 1, SynAGE Student Board Member

My work concentrates on the protein homeostasis in the aging brain. Specifically I am interested in processes that lead to an altered protein expression and autophagy in the aged brain. Furthermore I want to determine the interaction and effect of anti-inflammatory and antidiabetic strategies to rejuvenate autophagy and neural protein homeostasis.

Elisa Lancini

PhD Student Project 12, SynAGE Student Board Member

My work focuses on the role of the dopaminergic and noradrenergic systems in age-related episodic memory decline. Specifically, I investigate whether L-DOPA administration improves memory consolidation in healthy older adults.  Furthermore, I will explore to what extent the variance of the MTL, the volume of medial temporal lobe memory structures and the volume/signal intensity of SN and LC mediate the memory outcomes. 

Judith Wolf

MD Student, Associated, SynAGE Student Board Member

I am studying medicine at the OVGU in Magdeburg and in October 2018 I joined, as MD student, the Research Group of Neuroplasticity in the Leibniz Institute for Neurobiology. Here I am involved in studying the role of the synapto-nuclear messenger Jacob in the regulation of nucleolar functions and its possible effects on ribosome biogenesis and protein synthesis.

Dr. Anika Dirks

Scientific Coordination of RTG 2413 SynAGE

After studying Biochemistry at the Martin Luther University Halle, I did my PhD in Molecularbiology and Neurochemistry at the Leibniz Institute for Neurobiologie Magdeburg. During that time, my life focused on the presynapse-to-nucleus shuttling protein CtBP1.

Since 2017, I have worked as scientific coordinator at LIN and OVGU, especially at the center for behavioral brain sciences cbbs and the cbbs graduate program. I like to help young motivated students to complete their MD or PhD, which I am looking forward to continue and intensify at SynAGE.

Sandra Schinkel

Project assistant

Since June 2021 I am supporting Prof. Dr. Daniela Dieterich and SynAGE especially in financial concerns. I am looking forward to work with and assist young scientists on their way to become independent reseachers. 


Dysbalanced protein homeostasis as a hallmark and intervention target for aging cells? (Natalia Waal, Peter Landgraf and Daniela C. Dieterich)

Autophagy mechanisms in the aging hippocampus (Carlos Miguel del Angel Munoz, Anne Albrecht and Oliver Stork)

A nexus between DNA-hypomethylation and cognitive decline in healthy aging (Vsevolod Cherepashkin, Guilherme Gomes and Michael R. Kreutz)

Molecular underpinnings of high-risk aging: Neuronal insulin signaling, amyloidosis and the metabolic syndrome (Eleonora Cuboni, Anna Karpova and Michael R. Kreutz)

The effect of immunosenescence on synapse composition in a chronic neuroinflammation model (Tabea Linde, Johannes Steffen and Ildiko R. Dunay)

Extracellular matrix-neuron-glia interactions during aging-associated cognitive decline and rejuvenation by ECM targeting (Hadi Mirzapourdelavar, Inseon Song, Rahul Kaushik and Alexander Dityatev)

Targeting perisynaptic ECM mediated synaptic dysfunction in cerebral small vessel disease (Mahsima Khoshneviszadeh, Solveig Jandke, Rahul Kaushik, Stefanie Schreiber and Alexander Dityatev)

The perisynaptic extracellular matrix (ECM) of the aging brain: impact of enriched environment and neuromodulation on ECM composition and cognitive performance (Jana Schulze, Eckart D. Gundelfinger and Constanze I. Seidenbecher)

Mechanosensitive and astrocytic contributions to synaptic plasticity during aging (Danai Katsere, Anne Bayrhammer, Anke Müller and Daniela C. Dieterich)

Hippocampal interneuron circuits during cognitive decline (Katharina Klinger, Gürsel Caliskan and Oliver Stork)

Impact of stress on aging of BDNF-dependent synaptic and cognitive functions (Jeimmy Marcela Ceron Gonzalez, Thomas Endres and Volkmar Leßmann)

Effects of L-DOPA on memory consolidation in high- and low-performing amyloid-negative older adults (Elisa Lancini, Dorothea Hammerer, Matthew Betts and Emrah Düzel)

Learning from mistakes: Cholinergic modulation of interactions between performance monitoring and long-term memory (Alexander Weuthen and Markus Ullsperger)

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