Interdisciplinary Stress Physiology (DSP ISP)
The DSP-ISP is focused on high quality research and education on stress responses from the cellular to the systemic level.
Stress, seen as adaptive responses to environmental challenges (stressors), was central to survival of each individual and, thus, relevant for selection processes during evolution. Therefore, all organisms – from the unicellular to the multicellular organisms, from algae to mammals – share fundamental response patterns to stressors. Accordingly, the DSP-ISP will evaluate the common physiological mechanisms across species as well as species specific variations. The main perspectives are on energy-, oxygen, and metal-induced stress responses as well as on the impact of stress hormones on cognitive processing and emotional memory.
The following topics will be addressed:
- 1. Oxidative protein modification.
Stress-induced protein modification and changes in protein activity leading to altered functions in ion channel activity, transport systems and the nutritional state of the cell.
- 2. Autophagy, vesicular transport and exocytosis.
Stress response (oxidative and metal stress) will be analyzed in cultured mammalian and plant cells focusing on the role of autophagy, exocytosis and exosome release.
- 3. Lipid sensing.
Lipid droplets are important components in starvation-induced metabolic stress, serving as “energy source” for lipid breakdown by lipophagy. Lipid droplets as modulators of cellular stress reactions and programmed cell death will be investigated.
- 4. Stress models.
Cell differentiation associated with stress responses will be investigated by using in-vitro as well as in-vivo stress models.
- 5. Stress hormones and cognitive / emotional processing
Stress hormones, including cortisol and adrenalin, will be quantified and correlated with cognitive performance and emotional memory in humans during mental stress induction and related to molecular mechanisms.