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Tanja Godenschwege

Dr. Tanja Godenschwege
  • Professor
  • FAU Biological Sciences
  • 561 799-8055 (Jupiter), 561-297-1390 (Boca Raton)
  • Jupiter - MC-19, 209
  • Boca Raton - SC, 209


  • Ph.D., Bayerische Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg, Germany

Research Interests

  • Cellular basis of neurological diseases
  • Neurodegeneration and regeneration
  • Axonal transport and injury signaling
  • Axon guidance and synapse formation

Research Description

My lab uses the Drosophila melanogaster as a model to understand brain development, function and maintenance. In the nervous system the function and signaling mechanisms of many genes are evolutionarily conserved from flies to humans. We use anatomical, electrophysiological, molecular and genetic tools as well as live imaging of axonal transport to characterize disease-associated genes at cellular and organism level to determine how they contribute to developmental processes and neuronal survival. Currently in the lab we are characterizing several conserved genes such as APP/APPL, L1-CAM/Neuroglian and attractin/Dsd. These genes are of relevance to a variety of neurological disorders and diseases such as Alzheimer’s, regeneration and degeneration, cancer, and aging.

A second focus of the lab is to discover novel drugs that affect the function of the nervous system. The venom of cone snails is a complex mixture of bioactive small peptides and isolated conopeptides known to elicit a wide range of physiological effects. They are used not only to study the physiological function of neuronal and muscular target molecules but are also powerful therapeutic agents for a variety of neurological disorders and conditions. In collaboration with Frank Mari's Lab (now at Hollings Marine Laboratory) we have developed a novel approach to screen conopeptides for biological activity in vivo.

Recent Publications

  • Heghinian M.D., Mejia M., Adams D.J., Godenschwege T.A. and Marí F. (2015). Inhibition of cholinergic pathways in Drosophila melanogaster by conotoxins. FASEB J 29(3):1011-1018.
  • Lee L.H. and Godenschwege T.A. (2015). Structure-function analyses of tyrosine phosphatase PTP69D in giant fiber synapse formation of Drosophila. Mol Cell Neurosci 64:24-31.
  • Kudumala, S., Freund, J., Hortsch, M. and Godenschwege, T.A. (2013). Differential effects of human L1CAM mutations on complementing guidance and synaptic defects in Drosophila melanogaster. PLoS One 8(10):e76974. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0076974.
  • Mejia, M., Heghinian, M.D., Busch, A., Mari, F. and Godenschwege, T.A. (2013). New tools for targeted disruption of cholinergic synaptic transmission in Drosophila melanogaster. PLoS One 8(5):e64685.

Scholarly Activities

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