Prof. Dr. Zimmermann Dieter

Main Field(s) of Research, Abstract
Basic research project: Structure, expression and functions of versicans

In our long-term basic research project we have been focusing on the large chondroitin sulfate proteoglycan versican and its putative role in the regulation of interactions between cells and their surrounding extracellular matrix. This proteoglycan has been originally characterized by members of our group, partly in the USA and partly here at the Department of Pathology. Immunohistochemical, biochemical and cell biological studies of expression and function of different splice-variants of versican from our and other groups have provided strong evidence that versicans modulate cell proliferation and cell migration and control axonal growth during development. The marked re-expression of versicans in tumors of epithelial and non-epithelial origin has indicated a similar role of versican during tumor formation and progression. By analyzing the function of versicans in normal cell migration and proliferation during development we hope to gain insights into functional consequences of aberrant versican expression in neoplastic processes. Our approach includes functional in vitro assays, in ovo experiments and generation and analysis of knock-out mouse models.

Translational research projects: Application of molecular biological techniques to supplement histological and cytological diagnostics in the pathology.

One of these current research projects focuses on the improvement of the little invasive cytological cancer diagnostics by including analysis of microsatellites for the demonstration of genetic instability (loss of heterozygosity) at specific loci. Special emphasis is set on improving reproducibility and quantitative aspects in order to fulfill the strict quality requirements for diagnostic applications.
Furthermore, we are working on improving the detection of specific translocations using different PCR-techniques. Special fields of interest are lymphomas and soft tissue tumor diagnostics on fresh and formalin fixed-tissues.

Main Fields of Research, Keywords
Extracellular matrix, proteoglycans, cell adhesion control, axon guidance, neuronal development, tumor development, molecular medicine, molecular pathology

Special Techniques and Equipment
Wide range of molecular biological, gene targeting, proteinchemical, immunological and cell biological techniques.

Education and Training
We have training opportunities for PhD and MD students as well as post-docs with their own funding.