EXPLORING STRUCTURAL MECHANISMS OF SYNAPSE CONNECTIVITY

 



Welcome to the Ressl Lab.
We use structural biological methods to resolve protein complexes involved synapse connectivity.
We aim to decipher the molecular logic of synaptic adhesion proteins.

RESEARCH


OVERVIEW

Our brain functions via neuronal networks. Neuronal networks are established by cell-cell junctions between neurons. These specialized cell-cell junctions are chemical synapses that allow the flow of information to cross from one neuron across the synaptic cleft to the other neuron to further propagate along the neuronal network. Synapses are therefore the fundamental structural unit that makes neuronal communication possible. Understanding proteins that take part of connections between synapses is fundamental to gain knowledge of our brain’s function in health and disease. Our lab uses X-ray crystallography and electron microscopy to visualize proteins that are located at this crucial boundary that let us function as who we are and how we experience this world. Our work aims to decipher the molecular logic of how proteins of synaptic adhesion define and orchestrate synapse function.
 

PROJECT AREAS

1) Structural Neuroscience on Synapse Organizers

C1QL proteins, secreted molecules that act as synaptic organizers by binding to membrane tethered synaptic proteins.
Our main research focuses on the neuronal secreted C1q-like protein family that have been identified: a) as ligands to the post-synaptic adhesion GPCR ADRGB3 that is linked to schizophrenia; b) are localized in the synaptic cleft that predestines them to be linked to cognitive brain disorders; c) C1q-like mutant mice revealed behavioral abnormalities resembling ADHAD, schizophrenia and addiction predisposition.

We aim to understand on an atomic and molecular level how C1QL proteins and their binding partners ultimately influence the fundamental biology of neuronal networks.

2) Membrane Protein Crystallography

Membrane proteins are notoriously difficult to crystallize. We work on prokaryotic and eukaryotic membrane protein targets that are involved in various aspects of cell biology.

We use various expression systems (E.coli, Sf9 and HEK293 cells), combine affinity chromatography techniques, perform LCP and vapor diffusion crystallography to achieve membrane protein structure determination. 


COLLABORATIONS

Dr. David Martinelli (University Connecticut Health Center)
Dr. Hui-Chen Lu (Indiana University Bloomington, Gill Center for Biolmolecular Science)
Dr. Jonathan Schlebach (Indiana University Bloomington, Department of Chemistry)
Dr. Werner Kuehlbrandt (MPI of Biophysics, Frankfurt Germany)

 

FUNDING

IU Start-Up Funds

Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute (CTSI) 

 

2015

2014

2013

2011

2009

TEAM

  Susanne Ressl    Principal Investigator   Susanne was born in the Czech Republic and grew up in Germany. She studied Biology with the emphasis on Biophysics, Zoology and Immunology at the Johannes Gutenberg University, Mainz. She completed her Diploma with her work on electron microscopy and X-ray crystallography studies of the secondary transporter BetP at the Max-Planck Institute of Biophysics under the mentorship of Werner Kuehlbrandt and Christine Ziegler. She continued her work on BetP and completed her PhD in Biochemistry at the MPI of Biophysics and the Goethe University, Frankfurt. She then switched gear and worked at Stanford University on Structural Neuroscience projects with Dr. Axel Brunger and 2013 Nobel Prize winner Dr. Thomas Suedhof. Fascinated by proteins that facilitate synaptic connectivity, her lab uses structural biology to bring mechanistic insights as to how secreted C1QL proteins that interact with other proteins at the synapse and ultimately influence the fundamental biology of neuronal networks.

Susanne Ressl

Principal Investigator

Susanne was born in the Czech Republic and grew up in Germany. She studied Biology with the emphasis on Biophysics, Zoology and Immunology at the Johannes Gutenberg University, Mainz. She completed her Diploma with her work on electron microscopy and X-ray crystallography studies of the secondary transporter BetP at the Max-Planck Institute of Biophysics under the mentorship of Werner Kuehlbrandt and Christine Ziegler. She continued her work on BetP and completed her PhD in Biochemistry at the MPI of Biophysics and the Goethe University, Frankfurt. She then switched gear and worked at Stanford University on Structural Neuroscience projects with Dr. Axel Brunger and 2013 Nobel Prize winner Dr. Thomas Suedhof. Fascinated by proteins that facilitate synaptic connectivity, her lab uses structural biology to bring mechanistic insights as to how secreted C1QL proteins that interact with other proteins at the synapse and ultimately influence the fundamental biology of neuronal networks.

  Gene Qian    Hutton Honors Scholar   Gene is from Carmel, Indiana. Before he came to Indiana University, he was a student at Carmel High School. IFLE, an IU research program that allows undergrads to be involved with research as early as the summer before freshman year, brought him to attend IU. He is currently majoring in biology and biochemistry. Outside of academics, Gene enjoys hiking and flying kites.  Gene joined the group in June 2015.   

Gene Qian

Hutton Honors Scholar

Gene is from Carmel, Indiana. Before he came to Indiana University, he was a student at Carmel High School. IFLE, an IU research program that allows undergrads to be involved with research as early as the summer before freshman year, brought him to attend IU. He is currently majoring in biology and biochemistry. Outside of academics, Gene enjoys hiking and flying kites.  Gene joined the group in June 2015.

 

  Ivo Ressl   Ivo is a Whippet born close to Frankfurt, Germany. He came to Bloomington to specialize in comforting lab members, reminding them to go for healthy walks and keeping count on the squirrel population on campus. Ivo joined the Ressl Lab in 2015.

Ivo Ressl

Ivo is a Whippet born close to Frankfurt, Germany. He came to Bloomington to specialize in comforting lab members, reminding them to go for healthy walks and keeping count on the squirrel population on campus. Ivo joined the Ressl Lab in 2015.

  Uma Gabale    Research Specialist   Uma is from the western part of India. She completed her PhD in Biotechnology in 2007 from the National Chemical Laboratory in Pune, India. After graduation, she joined the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at Auburn University, Structural biology and protein-protein and/or protein-small molecule interactions are her primary scientific interests, which brought her to the Ressl lab at IUB. She joined the group in August 2015.

Uma Gabale

Research Specialist

Uma is from the western part of India. She completed her PhD in Biotechnology in 2007 from the National Chemical Laboratory in Pune, India. After graduation, she joined the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at Auburn University, Structural biology and protein-protein and/or protein-small molecule interactions are her primary scientific interests, which brought her to the Ressl lab at IUB. She joined the group in August 2015.

  Rohit Das    IFLE & STARS Scholar   Rohit is from South Bend Indiana. He has come to Indiana University to pursue a major in Biochemistry and plans to pursue a PhD after graduation. He chose to attend IU as he believes it will prepare him for his future endeavors. He is currently working on understanding how point mutations affect the ion coordination of C1QL3, and subsequently the disruption of interactions with other proteins. Rohit joined the Ressl lab in June 2016.   

Rohit Das

IFLE & STARS Scholar

Rohit is from South Bend Indiana. He has come to Indiana University to pursue a major in Biochemistry and plans to pursue a PhD after graduation. He chose to attend IU as he believes it will prepare him for his future endeavors. He is currently working on understanding how point mutations affect the ion coordination of C1QL3, and subsequently the disruption of interactions with other proteins. Rohit joined the Ressl lab in June 2016.

 

  Perla Arianna Pena Palomino    PhD Candidate   Perla is from San Diego, CA. She was raised on the other side of the U.S. border, in B.C.N, Mexico. Perla moved back to the US and graduated from Chula Vista High School. She then transitioned into Southwestern Community College, and later transferred to San Diego State University (SDSU). Once at SDSU, Perla joined a structural biochemistry/molecular biology laboratory as an undergraduate researcher. Her interest in interdisciplinary research is what brought her to Indiana University Bloomington to pursue a PhD, with a particular interest in taking structure and biochemical approach to neurobiology. Outside of research and academics, Perla enjoys outdoor activities and Latin social dance. Perla joined the Ressl lab in October 2016.

Perla Arianna Pena Palomino

PhD Candidate

Perla is from San Diego, CA. She was raised on the other side of the U.S. border, in B.C.N, Mexico. Perla moved back to the US and graduated from Chula Vista High School. She then transitioned into Southwestern Community College, and later transferred to San Diego State University (SDSU). Once at SDSU, Perla joined a structural biochemistry/molecular biology laboratory as an undergraduate researcher. Her interest in interdisciplinary research is what brought her to Indiana University Bloomington to pursue a PhD, with a particular interest in taking structure and biochemical approach to neurobiology. Outside of research and academics, Perla enjoys outdoor activities and Latin social dance. Perla joined the Ressl lab in October 2016.

  Wenya (Wensy) Chen   Wensy is from  Guangzhou, China. She has come to Indiana University to pursue a major in Nursing. After finishing her nursing degree, she would like to study medicine to become a pathologist. She is currently observing various methods that are used in the Ressl lab and is helping out with dishes and stocking up glass ware. In her free time she enjoys Swimming and Ballroom dancing. Wensy joined the Ressl lab in January 2017.

Wenya (Wensy) Chen

Wensy is from  Guangzhou, China. She has come to Indiana University to pursue a major in Nursing. After finishing her nursing degree, she would like to study medicine to become a pathologist. She is currently observing various methods that are used in the Ressl lab and is helping out with dishes and stocking up glass ware. In her free time she enjoys Swimming and Ballroom dancing. Wensy joined the Ressl lab in January 2017.


VISITORS

   Jenny Sachweh  (Heidelberg, Germany)  Jenny is a student from Heidelberg, Germany, where she pursues a Master’s degree in Molecular Biotechnology. She has gained lab experience in diverse internships ranging from organic synthesis to bioinformatics and joined the Ressl Lab to gain insights into structural biology in spring 2017. She continues her contribution to the research from abroad as she returned to Germany in the summer of 2017. Outside the lab, Jenny cares about supporting talented high school students in developing their scientific thinking and she enjoys swimming, hiking and playing music.

 Jenny Sachweh (Heidelberg, Germany)

Jenny is a student from Heidelberg, Germany, where she pursues a Master’s degree in Molecular Biotechnology. She has gained lab experience in diverse internships ranging from organic synthesis to bioinformatics and joined the Ressl Lab to gain insights into structural biology in spring 2017. She continues her contribution to the research from abroad as she returned to Germany in the summer of 2017. Outside the lab, Jenny cares about supporting talented high school students in developing their scientific thinking and she enjoys swimming, hiking and playing music.

  • Dr. Anita Correll (Mainz, Germany) 

 

 

 


 

FORMER MEMBERS

2015

  • Eleonor Goldstone (Student Summer Intern - Tri North Middle School Bloomington)

2016

  • Jonathan Thomas Siler (Rotation Student - Biochemistry Program)
  • Keiland Cooper (Undergraduate Intern - Neuroscience Program)
  • Jennifer Wong (Rotation Student - Biochemistry Program)

2017

  • Haley Harrington  (Rotation Student - Biochemistry Program)
  • Jenny Sachweh (Visiting Masterstudent - Biotechnology, Heidelberg University Germany)
  • Elaina Roach (Cox Scholar, Undergraduate Researcher - Indiana University Bloomington)

LAB


RESSL LAB IN ACTION AT SIMON HALL

LIFE AT RESSL LAB

ART SCIENCE PROJECT

LIFE IN AND AROUND BLOOMINGTON, INDIANA

NEWS
 

JOIN

Curiosity driven, enthusiastic, smart and creative people are always welcome to join the Ressl lab.

Technician

The Ressl lab is looking for a talented technician with expertise in cloning, insect and mammalian expression systems.

PhD students

PhD students interested in joining the Ressl lab have to apply through our graduate program www.biochemistry.indiana.edu

PhD students from overseas, who would like to do an external internship at the Ressl lab, please contact the PI.

Undergraduate students

The Ressl lab encourages motivated and interested undergraduate students to join the lab. 

Visiting students from all over the world

If you would like to spend some time in the Ressl lab and have the opportunity to apply for funding in your home country, you are our guest!

For all positions please send an email with CV to suressl at indiana dot edu

TEACHING

Class-overview-CELL-01.png
 
 

MLS410 PRotein metabolism

The Molecules of Life

The eukaryotic cell will serve us as a roadmap for this course. We will discuss four selected organelles/locations in the cell and explore the structure and function of crucial proteins that are responsible for the fundamental physiological processes at those cellular locations. The last section of this course will address protein function in health and disease. All together we will discuss five - major topic sections - that will be based on text book or review articles, followed by selected primary research literature, highlighting the structure and function of one or more proteins. 

This course will combine lectures with reading, presenting and discussing primary literature in addition to analyzing and understanding protein structures. By the end of this course you will be able to read primary research literature critically, understand and know how to analyze protein structures in their context of function, and answer questions such as:”Where and how does antibiotics inhibit ribosome function?” on a molecular level.

Find more information about the new Molecular Life Science degree at Indiana University Bloomington and the course MLS410.