Prof. Dr. Henning Stahlberg

University of Basel
at the Department for Biosystems Science and Engineering (D-BSSE)
Mattenstrasse 26
CH - 4058 Basel
WRO-1058, Room P 16 Phone: +41 61 387 32 62
Curriculum Vitae

Administrative Assistant

Karen Bergmann
WRO-1058, Room P 18
Phone: +41 61 387 32 31
Fax: +41 61 387 39 86


Resistant cancer cells: 3D structure of a drug transporter decoded

Drug resistance is not only a major problem in fighting infectious diseases....more

New operating principle of potassium channels discovered

Neurons transmit information with the help of special channels that allow the...more

Bacterial Injection Needle in 3D

Many pathogens infect their host cells by secreting a cocktail of cytotoxins....more

Research group Henning Stahlberg

The structural basis of neurodegeneration, and structural analysis of membrane proteins

We investigate molecular mechanisms associated with the development of neurodegenerative diseases. We also study membrane proteins in the lipid membrane embedded state, using cryo-EM as main tool.

A patient suffering from Parkinson's disease illustrated by William R. Gowers (1886).

Structure of the potassium channel MloK1, a protein that transports potassium ions through membranes.

Parkinson's disease

Aging increases both the risk of the development and the rate of progression of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Parkinson’s disease. Although certain proteins, such as alpha-synuclein, are known to play an important role in Parkinson’s disease, the causative protein species is still unclear. Studying the various forms of alpha-synuclein and other so-called ‘amyloid’ proteins and their transmission from cell to cell, will help to elucidate the mechanisms involved and provide information needed for drug development.

Biological membrane systems

Membrane proteins are incorporated into the lipid bilayer of membranes and are responsible, for example, for supplying our cells with energy and nutrients as well as for expelling molecules that are not required. These import/export functions have to be adjusted precisely to the needs of the cell. Membrane proteins are also involved in cell-cell communication, cell division and in defense mechanisms. Their dysfunction, is related to a wide range of diseases, making them major drug targets. We are studying various membrane proteins using high-resolution cryo-electron microscopy.

Methods and imaging procedures

We combine light and electron microscopes of various types to obtain a comprehensive picture of the specimens at different magnifications. We develop new methods of sample preparation and systems biology analysis to realize correlative microscopy. Moreover, we are improving imaging procedures in electron microscopy, in particular for high-resolution cryo-electron microscopy, and are developing and implementing computer algorithms for the high-resolution 3D reconstruction of protein structure. Our team is also developing a single cell visual proteomics pipeline to investigate protein aggregation in cell systems.

Detailed information: