Head of Group:
Tight junctions attach neighboring epithelial cells, providing the barrier function of epithelia. This barrier is a prerequisite for vectorial transport processes, and for the function of organs and tissues.
Tight junctions are organized in strands. Within these strands, a number of membrane proteins could be identified, which are responsible for sealing and for providing selective paracellular permeability in epithelia.
The working group “Epithelial Barrier Research” focuses on analyses of function and regulation of tight junctions in relation to organ physiology and pathophysiological processes.
In addition, clinically relevant aspects, as preventive sealing mechanisms or an intended opening of the tight junction for absorption enhancement (e.g. for drug targeting) are analyzed.
Schematic image of an epithelial monolayer.
Tight junctions encircle epithelial cells and attach them tightly to their neighbors. They are organized in strands and they are composed of an organ- and tissue-specific mosaic of membrane proteins, which selectively determine paracellular sealing and permeability (arrow), a: apical membrane (with microvilli), b: basolateral membrane.
Head of Group:
The understanding of the metabilic adaptability of high-yielding dairy cows in different reproduction and lactation states requires a detailed assessment of the different regulatory planes of metabolic processes. Our research is focused on the elucidation and targeted dietary manipulation of such processes.
By using integrative research strategies, studies are executed on cell models (primarily bovine adipocyte cultures) and the living animal. Apart from various molecular biology methods such as transcriptomics (quantitative RT-PCR, oligonucleotide microarrays) and analysis of protein expression (Western Blots), we also apply a portfolio of different functional tests to assess the metabolic processes. Our major goal is the identification of molecular targets with high relevance for 'metabolic health' in critical production periods and their manipulation by natural feed ingredients.
Head of Group:
Following the ban of antibiotics as growth promotors in 2006 in the EU, phytogenic substances have gained interest as potential modulators of inflammatory processes and oxidative stress. Concerns among consumers because of antiobitic residues and growing numbers of resistant bacteria have lead to an ongoing research for alternatives, such as phytogenic substances, during the last decade. Phytogenic substances are known to have antimicrobial activity and provide antioxidative and antiinflammatory effects, enhance palatability, improve gut functions and homeostasis and promote growth.
Our main goal is to screen for possible targets using cell culture models and Ussing chamber experiments to elucidate the underlying mechanisms and effects of phytogenic feed additives, and their most effective target locations within the digestive tract, in livestock diseases. Our group focuses on cytokine and protein expression analyses via quantitative RT-PCR and Western Blots / ELISA, immunohistochemistry and other molecular biological methods.
To gain a greater understanding of all aspects regarding the effects of phytogenic substances in livestock, we closely collaborate with the groups focusing on 'Magnesium Transport' and 'Metabolism of High-Yielding Dairy cows'.
Head of Group:
E-Learning / Information technology
The laboratory course in veterinary physiology helps students to gain a deeper understanding of the lecture topics and to enhance competency in the transfer of theoretical knowledge into practical application. A further focus is to train students in the acquisition and evaluation of numerical parameters that allow an objective measurement of processes central to life. Numerous experiments on humans, tissues and other preparations allow students to consolidate these skills. Non-invasive investigations of physiological parameters serve as an opportunity to teach species-appropriate handling of living animals. Some experiments take place in virtual environments, which are also accessible to students in preparation or repetition of course work at home on their own PC. Throughout, it is our goal to prepare students for a work environment in which skills in the computer-based acquisition and processing of data are taken for granted.
Virtual environment for experiments on physiological and pharmacological topics, as interactive and variable as in the "real" laboratory (free Demos, development: Dr. H. Braun, University of Marburg)
tet.folio in the physiological laboratory course (Co-project with the working group Nordmeier – didactics of physics since 2014 in which the working group is significantly involved in improving the usability of the tool)
With the help of a web-based, platform independent learning environment, students can access various interactive objects. Pure out-put based E-learning is replaced by virtual and multimedial media that require active input by the student.