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The DZNE: researching neurodegenerative diseases

The DZNE investigates the causes of neurodegenerative diseases and develops novel strategies for prevention, treatment and care

The DZNE investigates the causes of neurodegenerative diseases, diseases of the brain and the nervous system, and develops novel strategies for prevention, treatment, and patient care. Our research focuses on “neurodegeneration”, a pathological, slowly progressing phenomenon characterized by neuronal damage and dysfunctions, which can ultimately lead to cell death. Neurodegeneration may cause dementia, movement disorders and other serious health issues. It manifests in a wide spectrum of diseases including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), ataxias and childhood onset neurodegenerative disorders.
We aim to improve quality of life of patients and relatives. Therefore, the DZNE’s scientific strategy comprises various research areas ranging “from bench to bedside”, our scientists cooperating across disciplines to support translation of scientific findings into medical application.
Thus, the DZNE covers the whole spectrum from the investigation of molecular processes in simple organisms and brain cells to clinical studies, population and health care research. Some topics are tackled in laboratory experiments, others in  studies in which healthy subjects and individuals affected by disease participate. For the development of novel therapies and medicines, the DZNE collaborates with other scientific institutions and research-based companies – both in Germany and worldwide.

Progress in the research on neurodegenerative diseases requires latest technology. Therefore, the DZNE operates a state-of-the-art infrastructure in neuroimaging and single-cell genomics (PRECISE). Moreover, the DZNE’s Core Facilities offer a broad range of technologies and services to support the work of our scientists.

Translational Research

To facilitate translation of scientific findings into clinical routines and patient care, the DZNE pursues an interdisciplinary strategy that comprises four interconnected research areas:

Fundamental Research

The molecular and cellular mechanisms of neurodegeneration are still poorly understood. In order to develop better therapies, the DZNE investigates how neurons are damaged and which targets are relevant for the development of new drugs. Further information

Clinical Research

The DZNE works closely with university clinics to develop new approaches for prevention, diagnosis and treatment of neurodegenerative diseases. This includes research on early diagnosis, biomarkers, new drugs, and the effects of physical activity on the brain. Further information

Population Health Sciences

The DZNE’s “Rhineland Study” examines which protective and risk factors influence the health of adults up to old age. The plan is to involve up to 30,000 participants from the Bonn area and register their health development over decades. The results are intended to contribute to health promotion and the development of preventive measures against neurodegenerative and other age-related diseases. Further information

Health Care Research

Effective support for patients, relatives and caregivers is essential to mitigate the impact of dementia. Therefore, the DZNE develops care measures for people with dementia and analyzes relevant structures of the health care system. In particular, our research aims to improve the quality of life of patients and to promote their self-determination and participation in social life. Further information

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