We combine the Drosophila and mouse models with assays in cell culture to study mechanisms of genetic renal disease. Drosophila nephrocytes are functionally, morphologically and molecularly analogous to human podocytes. Unlike cultured cell lines, these podocyte-like cells form functional slit membranes reminiscent of the glomerular filter. We use the mature genetic tool-kit of the Drosophila model in conjunction with a functional and morphological analysis by fluorescent and electron microscopy. In order to discover novel therapies for nephrotic renal disease we apply specific protocols for whole organism drug screening.
Applications for an MD thesis (Medizinische Doktorarbeit) are welcome. Doctoral students willing to spend a year in the lab will get the opportunity to run their own projects independently (as others did successfully in the past), but shorter terms are possible as well.