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Ressl, Susanne

Susanne Ressl

Assistant Professor
Department of Neuroscience


Office Location

Susanne was born in the Czech Republic and grew up in Germany. She studied Biology with the emphasis on Biophysics, Zoology and Immunology at the Johannes Gutenberg University, Mainz. She completed her Diploma with her work on electron microscopy and X-ray crystallography studies of the secondary transporter BetP at the Max-Planck Institute of Biophysics under the mentorship of Dr. Werner Kühlbrandt and Dr. Christine Ziegler. She continued her work on BetP and completed her Doctorate (PhD) in Biochemistry and Biophysics at the Max Planck Institute of Biophysics and the Goethe University of Frankfurt in Germany. She then switched gear during her Postdoc at Stanford University and worked on Structural Neuroscience projects with Dr. Axel Brunger and Dr. Thomas Südhof. Fascinated by proteins that facilitate synaptic connectivity, her lab uses structural biology and biochemistry to bring mechanistic insights how secreted synaptic organizing proteins interact with membrane proteins at the synapse influencing the fundamental biology of neurons and beyond.

The Ressl lab studies the structure and function of proteins by combing biophysics, biochemistry and cell biology, as the gateway to visualize and understand their biological, physical and chemical properties. We are fascinated by visualizing how proteins work on the atomic scale and we cross the resolution range up to the cellular level. 

Structural Neuroscience 

Synaptic organizing proteins are secreted molecules that bind to membrane tethered synaptic proteins influencing synapse homeostasis. Our main research focuses on the neuronal secreted C1q-like protein family that have been identified: a) as ligands to the post-synaptic adhesion GPCR ADRGB3 that is linked to schizophrenia; b) are localized in the synaptic cleft that predestines them to be linked to cognitive brain disorders; c) C1q-like mutant mice revealed behavioral abnormalities resembling ADHAD, schizophrenia and addiction predisposition.

We aim to understand on an atomic and molecular level how C1QL proteins and their binding partners influence the fundamental biology of the synapse and neuronal networks.

Structure Biology of membrane proteins

Solving structures of membrane proteins is notoriously difficult. In our lab and together with our collaborators, we work on prokaryotic and eukaryotic membrane protein targets that are involved in various aspects of biology.

2019                2019 Indiana University Trustees Teaching Award 

2016                2016 Provost’s Travel Award for Woman in Science             

2012-2014       Otto-Hahn Postdoctoral Fellowship, The Max-Planck Society

2010-2011       EMBO Postdoctoral Long-term Fellowship

6/2010            Otto-Hahn Medal, The Max-Planck Society

2006-2009      PhD Fellowship of the International Max-Planck Research School