Analysing the molecular mechanisms of heart failure

This project focuses on cardiovascular diseases: The Cardiovascular Pharmacology group aims to decipher the pathomechanisms of heart failure and to identify therapeutically relevant key structures. Thus, the group wants to enable better and more specific therapies for this illness. Together with the Miniaturisation group, they investigate the potential of plasma techniques in treating cardiovascular diseases.

Cardiovascular diseases, such as heart failure, coronary disease, and heart attack, are among the most common diseases worldwide and the main cause of death in Germany. Therefore, prevention and early detection as well as new therapeutic strategies are especially important for this disease class. To further develop potential therapies and for an early risk assessment and diagnosis, it is necessary to identify "modifier" proteins and protein modifications with a protecting and regulating role in pathogenesis.

To address these questions, the project team conducts biochemical and cell biological studies on expression, localisation, and function control of key proteins in cardiovascular cells. Thus, the scientists aim to elucidate pathophysiological signalling cascades. In some earlier work, they have already identified the extracellularly regulated kinases ERK1 and ERK2 as well as the G protein-coupled receptor kinase GRK2 as potential therapeutic targets. For these proteins, the group currently analyses different strategies that might influence the signalling cascades or steer them in another direction, at the same time trying to clarify the molecular background. Another aspect of the work in this project is, for instance, functional analysis of posttranslational modifications on signalling cascades that are involved in the pathomechanisms of heart failure.