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Assoz. Prof. Priv.-Doz. Mag. Dr.rer.nat. Gerd Leitinger

Gerd LEITINGER is an electron microscopist. His recent work comprises both, neuroanatomical studies to elucidate the connectivity within a locust’s movement detection circuit, and visualizing iron deposits in human brain samples. For the first project, special 3D scanning electron microscope techniques are applied, in order to 3D-reconstruct the neurons and their synaptic partners. This will allow studying the neuronal connectivity within the circuit and obtaining a wiring diagram that could help understand how the circuit works. The latter project comprises visualizing the ferritin iron in post-mortem human brain samples. This is of special interest because the amount of stored iron differs between different brain areas, and because excess iron has been implicated in many neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease or Parkinson’s. In cooperation with Pathology and Neurology, human brain samples are obtained post mortem and the ferritin iron is visualized using elaborate and very specialized, analytical electron microscopy techniques. Because of his ample experience in electron microscopy his studies are integrated into a network of cooperation partners, both in Graz and abroad. Gerd Leitinger is head of the research unit “Electron Microscopic Techniques” and Scientific Director of the Core Facility “Ultrastructure Analysis”.

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