Prof. Dr. Walter Witke

Cell Motility Unit
Institute of Genetics
University of Bonn
Karlrobert-Kreiten Str. 13
D-53115 Bonn

Phone: 0228 73 4211
Fax: 0228 73 4263

One research interest is to understand how the actin cytoskeleton and cell motility is employed during brain development and how actin dynamics contributes to circuit formation and synapse physiology. For the evolution of complex brains cell motility has been the key event allowing neurons to populate certain brain areas and to connect into specific neuronal circuits. The lifelong morphological rearrangement of neuronal shape and of synapses is controlled by actin and the basis of plasticity.
We use genetic models to study the actin cytoskeleton in neuronal functions on all levels from the proteins controlling actin, to neuronal migration and ultimately to complex behaviour. The final goal is to relate changes on the level of cytoskeletal dynamics to the output of the brain.This is in particular interesting in disorders where cytoskeletal disorganisation was shown to contribute such as in autism, schizophrenia and epilepsy.