Principal Investigator


Associate Professor of Anatomy


  Research Topics • Calcium-binding proteins
• Cancer biology

Questions addressed

The main research interest of the laboratory is focused on the role of calcium-binding proteins named “calcium buffers”. These proteins are part of the calcium homeostasome, i.e. all the components involved in the regulation of intracellular calcium signals. Together with calcium pumps, channels and organelles (ER, mitochondria), these proteins shape the spatiotemporal aspects of intracellular calcium signals in various cell types including neurons. Alteration of their expression levels under pathological conditions or in transgenic animal models affect synaptic transmission that globally affects neuronal network properties and associated behavior. Upregulation of certain calcium buffers is also observed in specific tumors including mesotheliomas and certain colon cancers.
► Calcium buffers and modulation of synaptic plasticity
How do buffers with different affinities and kinetic properties affect short-term modulation of synaptic plasticity? What are the functional consequences at the level of neuronal networks (e.g. oscillations)? How do these changes at the network level affect the behavior of transgenic mice?
► Calcium buffers as a component of the calcium homeostasome
How does a neuron cope with the absence of certain calcium buffers in specific neuron types? How are other components of the calcium homeostasome affected by the absence of calcium buffers? What are the mechanisms that lead to these homeostatic compensations/ adaptations? Could these secondary alterations be the cause for certain neurological phenotypes (e.g. epilepsy, schizophrenia, depression)?
► Role of calcium buffers in tumorigenesis of mesotheliomas and colon cancer
Are specific calcium buffers only helpful markers for tumor identification or might they be involved in tumorigenesis? May these calcium buffers have additional roles as calcium sensor molecules? How is their espression regulated in normal vs. tumor cells? May some of these calcium buffers be putative targets for cancer treatment?

  Keywords • Adult neurogenesis
• Calcium homeostasis
• Calcium sensor
• Calcium-binding proteins
• Mesothelioma formation
• Nanomaterial toxicity
• Neurodegenerative diseases
  Contact Email address beat.schwaller [at] unifr.ch  
  Personal site Anatomy > Group Schwaller  


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