Elke Neumann-Haefelin


Our group studies the mechanisms of genetic kidney diseases and age-related processes. Our studies are centered on the mammalian Target of Rapamycin (TOR) complex network. mTOR has a major role in the regulation of cell growth, metabolism, and proliferation. Increasing evidence indicates that mTOR regulates renal cell homeostasis and is implicated in the development of glomerular diseases, polycystic kidney disease, renal aging, and Von Hippel-Lindau (VHL) disease-associated renal cell carcinoma.

We aim to identify novel mTOR network components and delineate their interconnection in relation to different inputs and outputs. Therefore, we adopt the C. elegans model to characterize gene functions and dissect genetic pathways in combination with biochemistry and cell biology approaches in human cell culture.

The nematode C. elegans is ideally suited to study functions and interactions of human kidney disease genes. The simple anatomical organisation, rapid life cycle, and versatile genetics tools make C. elegans a powerful model organism to study complex signalling networks. Genes linked to human diseases often function in evolutionarily conserved signalling pathways, which can be readily dissected in C. elegans. Particularly studies in C. elegans have pioneered the fundamental role of cilia for cystic kidney diseases. Through its advantages for genetic and in vivo studies, C. elegans also provided major insight into mTOR biology.


Medical Students

Application for an MD thesis (Medizinische Doktorarbeit) are welcome at any time. The experimental work will require approx. 9 month of dedicated time in the lab. We offer excellent support and supervision and also participate in the MOTI-VATE program. If you are interested to join our team and would like to know more about current projects, please send an email to elke.neumann-haefelin(at)uniklinik-freiburg.de


UNI Freiburg Universitätsklinikum Freiburg DFG