Katharina Dach

photo: Katherine Dach

Post Doctoral Scholar


Bad Hersfeld, Germany


I studied chemistry at the Ruprecht-Karls-University Heidelberg in Germany where I obtained my masters degree in November 2011. From March 2012 until December 2015 I performed my PhD thesis in the group of Prof. Ellen Fritsche at the Leibniz Research Institute for Environmental Medicine (IUF) in Duesseldorf, Germany. Within my thesis I studied whether the developmental neurotoxic effects of polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) on proliferation, migration and differentiation of neural progenitor cells (NPCs) grown as neurospheres are caused by interference with thyroid hormone (TH) signaling. During my postdoctoral scholarship at the IUF in 2016 I collaborated on an EPA funded grant with the group of Pamela Lein characterizing TH signaling in different in vitro models and zebrafish.

In January 2016 I started my postdoctoral fellowship in the group at Pamela Lein. The prevalence of neurodevelopmental disorders (NDD), most notably autism spectrum disorder (ASD), has increased significantly over the past decades. Fragile X syndrome (FXS) is a neurodevelopmental disorder caused by a CGG expansion in the FMR1 gene which affects 1 in 4000 males and 1 in 8000 females. It is the most common inherited form of intellectual disability and ASD. There is evidence that FMR1 premutation carriers might be more vulnerable towards neurotoxicants. Therefore, I will establish FMR1 gene premutation models for zebrafish and rats. Then I will compare neuronal development of wildtype and FMR1 premutation zebrafish and rats and investigate whether zebrafish and rat neuronal cultures of the FMR1 premutation carriers are more sensitive towards neurotoxicants than wildtype ones.