Dr. Maren Thomsen


I joined the group of Prof Adrian Goldman at the University of Leeds as postdoctoral research fellow in January 2015 and have since been awarded a Marie Sk?odowska-Curie Fellowship. During this fellowship, I will work on neuronal membrane proteins and solve their structures to understand their function and molecular mechanisms.

During my PhD in the group of Prof Winfried Hinrichs at the University of Greifswald, Germany, I purified and solved crystal structures of enzymes intended for applications in biotechnology processes. For example, I solved the structure of the first bacterial chalcone isomerase and was able to reveal its catalytic mechanism.

Research interests

My research will contribute to our understanding of the human brain and its development. Based on my expertise in membrane structural biology, I will focus on determining the native function of the membrane protein ptchd1 in the human brain. Ptchd1 is a recently identified neuronal transmembrane protein of unknown function, but crucial for brain development and involved in learning events and attention. A deletion of this gene causes attention deficit behaviour linking a specific molecular cause to a social phenotype. My aim is to determine the structure of ptchd1 by single particle electron microscopy, identify novel interaction partners and investigate how the C-terminus regulates its localisation/trafficking to the synapse. This will not only provide insight into the translocation of this specific protein but will also broaden our understanding of receptor recycling and the architecture of the postsynaptic density in general and might lead to new targets for neurodevelopmental disorders and psychiatric diseases.

<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="https://biologicalsciences.leeds.ac.uk/dir/research-projects">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>


  • PhD in Molecular Structural Biology - University Greifswald
  • Diploma in Biochemistry - University Greifswald