Research groupJunior group

Noa Lipstein

Synapse Biology

portrait Noa Lipstein

The Synapse Biology group studies the process of information transfer between neurons in the brain. We aim to identify cell biological processes that shape synaptic function, and explore the relationship between the properties of the synapse and its molecular composition. Our work provides insight into the function of the brain in physiology and in disease.

Synapse Biology

The Synapse Biology group focuses on elucidating the contribution of synaptic proteins to neuronal function and plasticity, and on deciphering synaptic disease mechanisms in brain disorders. We combine genetic manipulations in mouse models with electrophysiological and cell type-specific biochemical tools to study the molecular composition and organization of synapses, with the aim of understanding how these parameters define synaptic function and dysfunction.

Research Areas: diversity, plasticity and dysfunction

Our group focuses on understanding the molecular and cell biological processes that shape synaptic function in health and disease. In particular, we are interested in understanding how functional synapse diversity is encoded by its molecular composition, and how this diversity shapes the expression of brain disorders. We use unique mouse genetics tools, electrophysiology, imaging, and -omics tools to draw a link between the functional state and the molecular state of the synapse. Our projects are centered around three key elements that define synapse function: Diversity, Plasticity, and Dysfunction.

Group Members


By PositionA-Z
  • Born in Israel, Noa completed her Bachelor studies at the Tel Aviv University. Her PhD project developed into a collaboration between the Dr. Uri Ashery lab and the laboratory of Prof. Nils Brose at the Max Planck Institute of Experimental Medicine in Göttingen, combining mouse genetics and electrophysiology to study synaptic signaling pathways that control short-term synaptic plasticity. As a postdoc she continued these studies and in addition characterized a new inborn brain disorder associated with variations in the UNC13A gene. Since 2020 she leads the Junior Research Group ‘Synapse Biology’ at the FMP.

  • Kerstin completed her studies as a chemical-technical assistant at the Lise-Meitner-School in Berlin in 1995, and is a part of the LeibnizFMP team since 1996.

  • During her doctoral studies, Dragana focused on ubiquitin-like modifiers under the guidance of Dr. Andrea Pichler, with co-supervision of Dr. Marilyn Tirard and Dr. Nils Brose, ultimately earning her doctorate from the University of Freiburg. During her doctoral studies she developed a passion for neuroscience, which led her to undertake a postdoctoral position in the Synapse Biology group at FMP, Berlin. Here, she is using iPSC-derived motor neurons to gain insights into the molecular dynamics and function of synaptic proteins associated with neuromuscular diseases, such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

  • During her Bachelor studies at the ‘Molecular Life Science’ program at the University of Utrecht, and one semester at the Philipps University in Marburg, Mareike developed a strong interest in molecular neuroscience. After completing her Bachelor thesis in the group of Dr. Ginny G. Farias, she was accepted to the Max Planck International Research School ‘Molecular Biology’ in Göttingen, where she completed her Master’s degree at the Department of Molecular Neurobiology in the Max Planck Institute of Experimental Medicine under the supervision of Dr. Noa Lipstein and Dr. Nils Brose. She started her PhD project at the Synapse Biology group in 2021.

  • During his studies towards a degree in German Philology, Sun discovered an interest in life sciences. He enrolled in the Bachelor program for Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine in the University Medical School Göttingen, and joined the Synapse Biology group at FMP the Berlin as a PhD student in 2021, exploring the fascinating world of Neurobiology.

  • As a PhD student in the lab of Dr. Noa Lipstein, I am investigating induced motor neurons to find a relationship between the molecular mechanism of neurotransmission and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis - a chronic disease of the central nervous system. I grew up in Berlin and did my Bachelor’s in Life Science at Potsdam University. During this time I worked in the group of Dr. Arren Bar-Even and focused on synthetic photorespiration bypasses in E.coli. I continued my studies with a Master’s program in cellular biology at the University of Marburg. For my thesis, I generated neuroepithelial tissue derived from mouse embryonic stem cells to further elucidate the role of Med12, a pivotal key regulator of eukaryotic transcription.  Besides science, I am a big fan of small DIY projects, watching scripted reality TV shows as well as signing up for sports courses but then not going.

  • Moritz grew up in Cologne, where he studied Neuroscience at the University of Cologne. After completing his Bachelor's thesis at the Charité, studying the sensorimotor integration of speech in Parkinson's disease, he pursued his studies in molecular and cellular neurosciences at the Philipps Marburg University. During this Master's program, he specialized in Neuropharmacology and electrophysiology. Moritz is working towards his Master's thesis in the Synapse Biology group, focusing on alterations in synaptic short-term plasticity during neurodegenerative diseases.

  • Eleni was born in Berlin and became a biology lab technician at the MDC. She then went on to complete her Bachelor's degree in Biochemistry at the Free University of Berlin to further expand her knowledge. Fascinated by Neuroscience, she joined AG Lipstein during a Lab Rotation for her Master’s program and continued as a student assistant.



NeuroCure cluster of Excellence:

Target ALS Foundation: "Correcting Aberrant Splicing of UNC13A as a Therapeutic Approach for ALS and FTD"
Target ALS grant 2023: