Move to Jena

Janine and most of her workgroup moved to the Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena + Leibniz-Institute on Aging

Since April 2023 Janine is a joint professor of the Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena and the Leibniz Institute on Aging in Jena.

Move to Jena

Janine accepted a W3 Professorship for Biochemistry of Aging at Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena + Leibniz-Institute on Aging

Since April Janine is a joint professor of the Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena and the Leibniz Institute on Aging in Jena. The move to Jena will take place in summer. We say farewell to Bremen and all colleagues at the Universität Bremen. 

Franziska enjoys her research visit in Cambridge, UK

Research visit between February and April 2023 in the lab of Gabriele Kaminski Schierle

Franziska's research visit is supported by a fellowship of the Alzheimer Forschungsinitiative e.V. and we very much appreciate the support! Franziska is learning to use microfluidics to immobilize nematodes for subsequent Calcium imaging analyses. 

Retreat with the Einholt lab in Berlin


Mira, Sudarson and Janine went to Berlin to meet with the Eickholt lab (Britta, Patricia, Dimitra and Rafaela) to discuss the research progress of two DFG-funded project (Syntophagy and neuronal actin). Intense discussions were followed by some fun activities.  Our Bowling skills can be improved and we will challenge the Eickholt lab with some other activities on our next retreat. Lets figure out what we're good at ;o) 

Allen Distinguished Investigator Award to Janine

Funding by The Paul G. Allen Frontiers Group

15.12.2022: Together with Tim Clausen, Janine has been awarded an Allen Distinguished Investigator award to study the life of proteins. In this joint project, we aim to identify regulators of protein lifespan (synthesis, folding, repair, assembly, function and clearence) in a living and more importantly, aging organism: C. elegans. We will engineer split-fluorescent sensors reporting on the synthesis, abundance, location, folding, function and turnover of the muscle protein myosin. Goals of this project are to understand which factors regulate the life of proteins and how protein lifespan affects and is affected by the age of an organism. 

AFI International Training Grant for Franziska

Alzheimer Forschungsinitiative supports Franziska's 2 months research visit in Cambridge, UK

Franziska will spend 2 months in the lab of Gabriele Kaminski Schierle from end of February to mid April 2023 and work on the project: Analysis of neuronal damage on Aβ and tau pathology in C. elegans

Franziska Hirsch

The Leuven Protein Aggregation Meeting (21.-23.09.2022)

Janine presented data on HTT and DNAJB1

The meeting was held in beautiful Leuven and was completely sold out. Everyone was eager to get back to in-person-meetings to discuss amyloids. 

VIB Meeting Leuven
Leuven city
Canal in Leuven
Mira and Dimitra at Syntophagy Retreat

Syntophagy Kick-off meeting

12.+13.09.22 Mira and Dimitra (PhD student of Britta Eickholt's lab) finally meet

PIs and PhD students of the new research unit FOR 5228 Syntophagy met for the first time in Lutherstadt Wittenberg to present their data and to discuss the next steps. Quite an intense, but very stimulating meeting. 

Lucia PhD hat

Congratulations Dr. Pigazzini

Lucia defended her PhD at Charite-Universitätsmedizin Berlin

Lucia was awarded her PhD from the Charite-Universitätsmedizin Berlin on January 21st with summa cum laude.

Well done Lucia - thanks for your hard work in the lab and best of luck for your next step in your career. 

Lucia is now the 5th PhD awardee from the Kirstein lab. 


4.12.2021 New funding from the DFG

We gratefully acknowledge funding from the DFG to study the neuronal cytoskeleton with aging, upon proteotoxic stress and neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's disease. This is a joint project with the Eickholt lab at Charite Universitätsmedizin. We will use the nematode as well as in vitro assays to study the actin filament in neurons and how the actin network can be protected by modulators to sustain neuronal activity in aged cells/organisms. 

EMBO logo

upcoming: EMBO/FEBS Susan Lindquist School on Proteostasis 29.11.-02.12.2021

Janine was invited as speaker to this digital Lecture course

The program can be found here.

New publication in Frontiers in Molecular Neuroscience

Congratulation to first author: Lucia!

The most recent publication from our lab: "An expanded polyproline domain maintains mutant huntingtin soluble in vivo and during aging" has been accepted by Frontiers in Molecular Neuroscience

We analyzed the contribution of the polyQ-flanking domains and in particular of the poly-proline domain on the aggregation and pathogenicity of HTT in vitro and in the nematode, C. elegans

We thank all co-authors for their contribution and would again highlight that our lab frequently lists undergraduate researchers as co-authors. This time: Mandy Lawrenz. 

Their BSc/MSc or lab rotation projects are very valuable to our research. 

The new publication can be found and read here

JoVE webinar invited talks for Lucia and Janine

Webinar on Methods Collection: Using C.elegans to monitor proteostasis imbalances

Our contributions to the recent JoVE Methods Collection: Using C.elegans to monitor proteostasis imbalances:

In vivo quantification of protein turnover in aging C.elegans using photoconvertible Dendra2


Characterization of Amyloid Structures in Aging C. Elegans Using Fluorescence Lifetime Imaging

were selected for webinar talks on July 6th 2021 to present the methods.

All recorded talks of the webinar are now available here.

Webinar invitation by the HWK on May 27th

Protein Origami and neurodegenerative diseases

Janine has been invited for a talk at the Hanse-Wissenschaftskolleg (HWK) on May 27th. Our most recent progress on chaperone-mediated remodelling of mutant Huntingtin will be presented: link to the talk

Audio on the new Alzheimer's disease model

Janine was interviewed by journalist Christoph Kersting

The interview can be found here:,audio871098.html

and has been broadcasted by NDR Info, Radio Bremen, ...

JDP graphical abstract
JDP Roadmap

Sara's review is published

Review on JDPs and their interaction with disease causing proteins

Sara and Janine wrote a review on the structural features of J-domain proteins (JDP) enabling their interaction with neurodegenerative disease-causing proteins. This review is part of a special issue on Cell Stress in the Journal "Experimental Cell Research".


AFI logo

Funding from the Alzheimer Forschung Initiative e.V.

We are very happy and grateful to receive funding of 50.000 € from the Alzheimer Initiative e.V. to support a joint project with the lab of Mark Hipp, UMCG, NL. 

MSc defense of Atharva Patharkar

Atharva successfully defended his MSc thesis "The role of the molecular chaperone DNJ-13 in counteracting Ab1-42 toxicity in a novel Alzheimer's disease model in C. elegans" on December 16th.

All the best Atharva! 

Christian Gallrein PhD defines
Christian Gallrein

Celebrating Christian's defense in style

Funding for exchange visits with University of Cambridge, UK

Internationalisierungsfond supports our work

We acknowledge funding from the Internationalisierungsfond of the Universität Bremen to support our cooperation with the lab of Gabriele Kaminski Schierle, University of  Cambridge, UK. We hope that the pandemic situation will allow exchange visits next year. 

Talk at Baltic Redox Workshop

Janine has been invited to give a talk at the virtual Baltic Redox Workshop on September 14th. Find more information here.

Visit from Berlin

Sara & Lucia

From 8th to 9th September Sara Ayala and Lucia Pigazzini from the Berlin lab at the  FMP visited the Bremen lab to disucss the progress of their research projects together.

Bachelor Thesis

Antonia Schneider

On August 6th Antonia Schneider successfully held her Bachelor Thesis Defense with the title "In vitro analysis of Interaction between the Chaperone DNAJB1 and Huntingtin-Exon1-Q48". Antonia is heading off now to Groningen for her MSc studies. Best of luck Antonia and hopefully you rejoin our group soon. 

Allen Distinguished Investigator Awardee Meeting in Seattle

19.4.-21.4.2023 Kick-off meeting of the Allen Foundation Frontier Symposium

Janine went on the first annual meeting of the Allen Foundation that invites all new and current Allen Dinstinguished Investigators. 2 intense days filled with science and encounters with fabulous scientists of a very diverese research background. 

J-domain proteins: from molecular mechanism to diseases

Gdansk, Poland March 29th - April 1st

Second meeting of hopefully a long series of a meetings dedicated to J-domain proteins. This was a focused and intense workshop. Looking at the meeting attendees I think we can do better in diversity though. Learned and discussed a lot. 

JDP members
attendees of the JDP meeting

International day of Women in Science

Our lab does its share to support women in science. More information can be found here.

In the picture from left to right: Regina, Yasmin, Janine, Priscila, Mira, Merve, Sabrina and Annette.

Missing: Franziska and well, the men :o) 

Janine presented at the CRTD Symposium “ Protein homeostasis in degeneration and regeneration of the nervous system"

29.11.22 Janine was invited as external speaker

Chaperoning the nuclear envelope

News & Views article on two publications in Nature Cell Biology

Janine was invited to write a News & Views of two back-to-back publications from the Schlieker and Kampinga/Bergink labs. The News & Views article can be found here.

Talk at Conferences Jacques-Monod in Roscoff, Brittany

October 17 - 21 2022: Janine presented our latest work on DNAJB1 and HTT

Great science and scenary at "Protein phase transitions in ageing and age-related diseases: from atomic resolution to cellular solutions"


New publication together with the lab of Klaudia Brix

September 2022: Happy to have contributed to this study that is now published in Journal of Molecular Endocrinology

The new publication "Lack of L-type amino acid transporter 2 in murine thyroid tissue induces autophagy" can be found here.

Congratulations to Klaudia Brix and all co-authors. 


Our latest manuscript is now published in Nature Communications

August 10th 2022

Our manuscript:  

Identification of a HTT-specific binding motif in DNAJB1 essential for suppression and disaggregation of HTT

is now published in Nature Communications


Huge team effort of labs from Berlin: Fan Liu, Jonas Protze, Kirstein lab (Sara, Lucia and Katharina), the new Bremen lab (Yasmin, Merve and Mohamed), our local cooperation partners of Faculty 4 (Isabell Grothaus, Susan Köppen and Lucio Colombi Ciacchi) as well as Josh Vermaas and Martin Kulke from Michigan State University.

Groningen Bahnhof
Groningen Fahrräder

Dutch Chaperone Meeting

Keynote talk and lecture to students of the University of Groningen

Janine was invited by Mark Hipp, Prof at UMCG, to give a keynote talk at the 22nd Dutch Chaperone Meeting on April 8th. Great science and discussions on chaperones and new tools with established and new PIs and their lab members in the Netherlands.

SYNAGE flyer

SYNAGE Conference on Healthy Ageing

Janine got invited as speaker for the International SYNAGE Conference on Healthy Aging in Magdeburg from 28th - 30th March 2022.

The meeting website can be accessed here.

Campus City: Die Universität kommt in die Stadt

MindDay im Übersee-Museum am 18.10.2021

Janine will present and showcase to visitors of the MindDay how we use the nematode to study neurodegenerative diseases. 

The program can be found here.

New publication in EMBO Journal

Cooperation with the Nollen, Schymkowitz and Rousseau labs

Our lab contributed with FLIM analyses in our Abeta nematodes on the analyses how MOAG-4 (SERF2) affect the aggregation of amyloid proteins. MOAG-4 interacts with negatively charged regions of aggregation-prone proteins to facilitate their aggregation. Neutralization of the positive charge of moag-4 in C. elegans abrogates this effect. Congratulations to all authors. The new publication can be found here.

New funding: Research Unit Syntophagy

Funding for a PhD position for 4 years

July 12th 2021


The Kirstein lab will cooperate with the Eickholt lab (Charite Universitätsmedizin Berlin) to study presynaptic proteostasis as part of the newly established research unit (FOR 5228): Syntophagy

We'll study the crosstalk of autophagy and the UPS to maintain neuronal function. 

The research unit is composed of labs of Berlin (FU Berlin, HU Berlin, Charite Universitätsmedizin Berlin and the FMP), Magdeburg (Universität Magdeburg + LIN) and Haifa, IL (Technion) as well as Universität Bremen.

Manuel Dr. Hut
Dr. Manuel Iburg

PhD defense of Manuel Iburg

Congratulations to Dr. Iburg for defending his PhD on February 10th at the Humboldt Universität zu Berlin (via zoom). Manuel is the 4th PhD student of the Kirstein lab. 

Manuel will join as postdoc the lab of George Lu at Rice University in Houston, TX,  USA. Good luck Manuel and thanks for all your hard work! 

New publication with the Brix lab (Jacobs University, Bremen)

New collaborative study with the lab of Klaudia Brix at Jacobs University and many more labs published in IJMS.  I happily contributed and say congrats to first author Vaishnavi Venugopalan!


Venugopalan V, Al-Hashimi A, Rehders M,  Golchert J, Reinecke V, Homuth G, Völker U, Manirajah M, Touzani A, Weber J, Bogyo MS, Verrey F, Wirth EK, Schweizer U, Heuer H, Kirstein J, Brix K

The thyroid hormone transporter Mct8 restricts cathepsin-mediated thyroglobulin processing in male mice through thyroid auto-regulatory mechanisms that encompass thyrotoxicity-induced autophagy

International Journal of Molecular Sciences, in press

New Funding

Fokusprojekt of the Universität Bremen

Off to a good start in 2021! 

We are excited and grateful to receive funding to study the role of molecular chaperones in neurodegenerative diseases. 

Johann Steinmeier joined our lab as postdoc.

Johann will study what renders the IL2 neurons so vulnerable for Abeta aggregation and he will also study the contribution of specific molecular chaperones on Abeta aggregation and propagation. Welcome Johann!

Janine Kirstein & Christian Gallrein
from left: Janine Kirstein & Christian Gallrein

Congratulations Dr. Christian Gallrein

Christian defended his PhD thesis at the Freie Universität Berlin on September 30th and was graded with summa cum laude

DKFZ Career Day

Janine has been invited to present at the virtual DKFZ Career Day 2020 on October 1st and 2nd

More information can be found here

We found the town musicians!

left to right: Sara Ayala, Lucia Pigazzini, Janine Kirstein in front of the Bremer Stadtmusikanten
left to right: Sara Ayala, Lucia Pigazzini, Janine Kirstein

Zoom Workshop with Groningen

Digital workshop on chaperones

A digital workshop on July 2nd was a kick-off meeting between the labs of Ellen Nollen (ERIBA, Groningen), Harm Kampinga (UMG, Groningen) and Mark Hipp (UMG Groningen and Universität Oldenburg) on molecular chaperones in the context of neurodegenerative diseases. This initiative is funded by Verbund Norddeutscher Universitäten and will continue with hopefully a IRL meeting soon.