The Danish Research Institute of Translational Neuroscience (DANDRITE) & Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics - Neurobiology, Aarhus University
During his AIAS-DANDRITE fellowship Chao Sun will be working on the research focus 'Logistic vulnerabilities of brain synapses'
The brain stores memories for decades, but the molecules in the brain do not last long. Instead, to process and store information with molecules, the brain synapses ‘consume’ molecules constantly. Molecular supply, therefore, puts constraints on synaptic function; and the logistic vulnerabilities of brain synapses can seed the onset of neurological diseases.
Chao Sun's research focus is logistic vulnerabilities of brain synapses. Chao Sun is group leader of the Sun Group that investigates protein machines that manage the molecular logistics of brain synapses using quantitative spatial proteomics approaches.Their core hypothesis is that molecular supply puts constraints on synaptic function, and the logistic vulnerabilities of brain synapses seed the onset of neurological diseases. They combine in situ and ex situ spatial proteomics to investigate the key protein machines that manage e.g. the synaptic protein, ATP, and lipid homeostasis, as well as the transport of ions, nutrients, and neurotransmitters.
Chao Sun and his group are particularly interested in protein machines that manage the molecular logistics of synapses, e.g. the protein synthesis and degradation machines, the transport machinery for ions, nutrients, and neurotransmitters, and the machinery involved in lipid and energy consumption. A quantitative, systems examination of the local synaptic logistics will reveal vulnerabilities that likely underlie neurological disorders, which currently has no cure.
Chao Sun is an Associate Professor and group leader of the Sun Group at DANDRITE - The Danish Research Institute of Translational Neuroscience at Aarhus University. He is trained as a chemist during his ph.d. with William R. Dichtel at Cornell University and Northwestern University, USA. Sun began his scientific career studying 'smart' molecular self-assembly (2013-2018). Unsatisfied with the simplicity of artificial molecular behaviour, Sun decided to chase after memory proteins in the brain for his postdoc with Erin M. Schuman, Director of the Max Planck Institute for Brain Research, Germany (2018-2023).
Area of research: Molecular Biology and Genetics
Research focus: Logistic vulnerabilities of brain synapses
Fellowship period: 1 Sep 2023 - 31 Aug 2025
Fellowship type: AIAS-DANDRITE fellow
This fellowship has received funding from Lundbeck Foundation and Aarhus University.