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Dr. Julia Bornhorst

Picture of Dr. Julia Bornhorst

Junior Group Leader

P2: Trace element effects on longevity and neurodegeneration with focus on C. elegans

 

University of Potsdam
Institute of Nutritional Science
Department of Food Chemistry
Arthur-Scheunert-Allee 114-116
14558 Nuthetal
Germany

Specific Qualification in TraceAge

The general research area of the Junior Group Leader Julia Bornhorst focuses on the neurotoxicity of the essential trace element Mn. In order to get insights in the modes of action of Mn-induced neurotoxicity, Dr. Bornhorst used different in vitro techniques to compare cytotoxic effects, genotoxic effects, Mn-bioavailability, the effect on oxidative stress parameters including reactive oxygen and nitrogen species (RONS) induction or ATP amount as well as the impact of Mn on the DNA damage response in different brain cells. Additionally, she applied primary porcine in vitro blood-brain barrier (BBB) and blood-CSF models to clarify the transfer of Mn into the brain. The data pointed out a stronger Mn sensitivity of the in vitro blood-CSF barrier as well as a site-directed, most probably active Mn transport towards the brain-facing compartment. In vivo studies using Caenorhabditis elegans (C. elegans) allowed Dr. Bornhorst and co-workers to study the interaction of Mn and genetics presenting a key gap to understand manganism etiology. Regarding genetics especially Parkinson`s disease (PD) related genes are in the focus of the studies. Using transgenic PD worm models they recently established the interaction between Mn and four PD associated genes (pdr1, djr1.1, djr1.2, pink1), which are implicated in regulating oxidative stress pathways. Thereby, a loss of pdr1 and djr1.1 resulted in an enhanced Mn accumulation and oxidative stress measured by Mn-induced reactive oxygen/nitrogen species (RONS). Recently, Dr. Bornhorst and co-workers suggested a novel role for pdr-1, a gene conferring risk to PD, in modulating Mn export through altered transporter expression, resulting in a Mn dyshomeostasis. They further uncover a novel, neuroprotective role for wildtype human α-synuclein in attenuating Mn-induced toxicity in the background of PD-associated genes. Altogether, the expertise of Dr. Bornhorst comprises the quantification of oxidative stress endpoints and neurotoxicity endpoints in C. elegans in wildtype worms as well as in the background of neurodegenerative disease models.

Qualifications and Scientific Career

since 01/2014

“Habilitandin” in the research group of Prof. Dr. Tanja Schwerdtle, Institute of Nutritional Science, Department of Food Chemistry, University of Potsdam

11/2013 – 12/2013

Postdoctoral researcher in the research group of Prof. Dr. Tanja Schwerdtle, Institute of Food Chemistry, WWU Münster

10/2012 – 10/2013

Postdoctoral researcher in the research group of Prof. Dr. Michael Aschner, Department of Pediatrics and Toxicology, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, USA

06/2012 – 09/2012

Member of the NRW Graduate School of Chemistry as postdoctoral researcher

10/2009 – 06/2012

Selected Member of the NRW Graduate School of Chemistry as PhD student as one of 18 servitors in a selection procedure of 400 international students

01/2009 – 06/2012

PhD thesis in the research group of Prof. Dr. Tanja Schwerdtle, Institute of Food Chemistry, WWU Münster (summa cum laude)

11/2008

1st State Examination for Food Chemists, Institute of Food Chemistry, WWU Münster (excellent)

03/2008 – 10/2008

Research thesis in the research group of Prof. Dr. Hans-Ulrich Humpf, Institute of Food Chemistry, WWU Münster

10/2004 – 11/2008

Studies of Food Chemistry, Faculty 12, WWU Münster

Membership in Scientific Committees

since 2015
Member of the Potsdam graduate school (Postdoc representative since 04/2016)

since 2012
German Society for Experimental and Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology (DGPT)

10/2011 – 10/2012
Student Member of the NRW Graduate School of Chemistry Committee

since 2009
Member of the German Society for Research on DNA Repair (DGDR) 

since 2009
Member of the Society of Food Chemistry (LChG/GDCh)

since 2009
Member of the German Environmental Mutagen Society (GUM) (board member since 2015)

since 2009
Member of European Environmental Mutagen Society (EEMS)

since 2009
Member of the Society for Minerals and Trace Elements (GMS)