Team BMP: Brain Microcircuits in Psychiatric Diseases

Psychiatric diseases remain one of the most urgent problems of a modern society. The main reason is insufficient understanding of the biological mechanisms of underlying neural circuit dysfunctions. Specifically, most current therapies are designed to act on neuronal compartments, largely ignoring non-neuronal cells involved in the regulation of critical brain functions.

The main aim of the BMP group is to uncover the contribution of glial cells to brain dysfunctions relevant for human psychiatric diseases. Our strategy is to provide systematic insight into the complex neuro-glia interactions and to identify critical molecular components altered in pathological conditions. To this end, we combine state-of-the-art genetic approaches with advanced methods of visualization of biological processes in cell cultures and in model animals.


  • Prof. Dr. Bastian Hengerer
    Director CNS Diseases Research at Boehringer Ingelheim (Industry mentor)
  • Prof. Dr. Thomas Kuner
    Head of Department Functional Neuroanatomy, Institute for Anatomy and Cell Biology at the University of Heidelberg (Academic mentor)
The research of this team is kindly sponsored by Boehringer Ingelheim.
The research of this team is kindly sponsored by Boehringer Ingelheim.

Our Team Members

Dr. Michał Ślęzak

Group Leader

Previous work
  • 2012–2016: Postdoc with Prof. Matthew Holt, VIB Center for the Biology of Disease, KU Leuven, Belgium
  • 2007–2012: Postdoc with Prof. Ryszard Przewłocki, Institute of Pharmacology PAS, Cracow, Poland
  • 2002–2007: PhD with Prof. Frank Pfrieger, Institute of Cellular and Integrative Neuroscience (INCI), Louis Pasteur University, Strasbourg, France
  • 2013–2015: Marie Skłodowska-Curie Intra-European Fellowship
  • 2012: Young Investigator Award from Polish Ministry of Science and Higher Education

Dr. Dolores Del Prete

Postdoctoral Researcher

Previous work
  • 2013–2016: Postdoc with Prof. Luciano D’Adamio, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, New York, USA
  • 2009–2012: PhD with Prof. Fabio Benfenati and Dr. Mounia Chami, Italian Institute of Technologies, University of Genoa, Italy
  • 2007: Master of Science in Medical Biotechnology, University of Naples Federico II, Italy

Dr. Valentyna Dubovyk

Postdoctoral Researcher

Previous work
  • 2011-2016: PhD with Prof. Denise Manahan-Vaughan, International Graduate School of Neuroscience, Ruhr-University Bochum, Germany
  • 2009-2011: Master of Science in Biophysics, Kyiv National University of Taras Shevchenko, Ukraine
  • 2005-2009: Bachelor of Science in Biology, Kyiv National University of Taras Shevchenko, Ukraine

Luanna Dixson


Previous work
  • 2014–2017: MSc Molecular Biosciences (major Neuroscience), Universität Heidelberg
  • 2010-2017: Research Associate, Central Institute for Mental Health, Mannheim, Germany
  • 2009–2010: Imaging Assistant Scientist, GlaxoSmithKline Clinical Imaging Center, London, UK
  • 2004-2007: BSc Biological Sciences (major Human Genetics), University of Liverpool, UK

Laura Bergauer

Research Assistant

Previous work
  • 2016–2018: Master of Science in Biotechnology at Mannheim University of Applied Sciences, Germany
  • 2015: Internship at ZI Mannheim, Department Molecular Biology, Germany
  • 2012–2016: Bachelor of Science in Biotechnology at Mannheim University of Applied Sciences, Germany

Sedef Dalbeyler

PhD Student

Previous work
  • 2015–2016: Research assistant in Laboratory of Glia Biology, Department of Human Genetics at KU Leuven, VIB, Belgium
  • 2013–2015: Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences, KU Leuven, Belgium
  • 2008–2013: Bachelor of Science in Genetics and Bioengineering, Yeditepe University, Istanbul, Turkey

Shringarika Singh

Research Assistant

Previous work
  • 2017–2018: Master Thesis Project ‘Genome editing of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) derived from Huntington´s disease patients Using CRISPR/Cas9’ at Max-Delbrück-Centrum for Molecular Medicine (MDC), Berlin, Germany
  • 2015–2018: Master of Science in Biomedical Engineering at University Furtwangen, Villingen-Schwenningen, Germany
  • 2014: Bachelor Thesis Project ‘Immuno-Histological Analysis of Kidney in Diabetic’ at Sanjay Gandhi Post Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences, Department of Molecular Medicine, India
  • 2010–2014: Bachelor of Technology in Biotechnology at Amity University, India

Marlene Aßfalg


Previous work
  • Since 2018: Master of Science in Neuroscience, Ruprecht-Karls-University, Heidelberg, Germany
  • September-December 2019: Research Intern, University of Oslo, LCBC, Norway
  • 2018: Bachelor Thesis Project “Dopaminergic interneurons in the olfactory bulb of MitoPark mice – The role of adult neurogenesis for non-motor symptoms in Parkinson’s disease”, University of Cologne, Germany
  • March-October 2017: Research Intern at Grace laboratory, University of Pittsburgh, USA
  • 2015-2018: Bachelor of Science in Neuroscience, University of Cologne, Germany

Ana Janeva


Previous work
  • Since 2019: Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry, Ruprecht-Karls-University, Heidelberg, Germany
  • 2019: Bachelor Thesis ‘Diazepam Binding Inhibitor mediates cellular signaling’ and research assistant at the German Cancer Research Centre (DKFZ), Department Clinical Neurobiology, Heidelberg, Germany
  • 2016-2019: Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry, Ruprecht-Karls-University, Heidelberg, Germany

Theo Luciani


Previous work
  • Since 2017: Engineer school in Chemistry and Biotechnology at CPE Lyon, France
  • 2019: internship in 3D micro-printing and skin cell culture within 3D Fabric of Advanced Biology (3d.FAB), LabSkin Creations and Newtone Technologies, Lyon, France
  • 2017: Bachelor of Sciences in Chemistry and Process Engineering at CPE Lyon, France