Academic Career and Research Areas

The fusion of synaptic vesicles with the pre-synaptic plasma membrane (neuronal exocytosis) is a key process for neurotransmitter release at the neuronal synapse.  The research group of Dr. Nils-Alexander Lakomek develops and implements advanced solution and proton-detected solid-state NMR methods to study the three-dimensional structure and dynamics of membrane proteins and intrinsically disordered proteins involved in neuronal exocytosis. Proteins are embedded in a lipid bilayer environment and studied at physiological temperatures.

Dr. Nils-Alexander Lakomek studied Physics at the University of Göttingen (1999-2004) and did his doctoral studies at the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in Göttingen (research group Prof. Christian Griesinger, 2004-2008). After different research stays at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in the United States (research group Dr. Ad Bax, 2009-2012), the Department of Neurobiology at Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in Göttingen (research group Prof. Reinhard Jahn, 2012-2014) and the ETH Zurich (research group Prof. Beat Meier, 2014-2019), since 2020 Dr. Lakomek heads a DFG Heisenberg research group at the Institute for Physical Biology (IPB) at HHU and the joined Biomolecular NMR center of HHU and the Forschungszentrum Jülich.

Distinctions and Awards
  • Heisenberg Fellowship, German Research Foundation (DFG), since 2020
  • Marie Skłodowska Curie Program by the EU (2014-2016)
  • NIH/DFG Research Career Transition Award Program (2009-2014)
  • Prize by the Foundation Council of the University of Göttingen (2009)
  • Raymond Andrew Prize by the European Ampere Society (2009)
  • Otto Hahn Medal by the Max Planck Society (2009)
  • Ernst Award by the German Chemical Society (2008)
Key publications

Lakomek, N.A., Yavuz, H., Jahn, R., Perez-Lara, A., Structural dynamics and transient lipid binding of synaptobrevin-2 tune SNARE assembly and membrane fusion, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. 2019, 16(18), 8699-8708.

Lakomek, N.A., Frey, L., Bibow, S., Böckmann, A., Riek, R, Meier, B.H., Proton-detected NMR spectroscopy of nanodisc-embedded membrane proteins: MAS solid-state vs. solution methods, J. Phys. Chem. B 2017, 121(32), 7671-7680.

Lakomek, N.A., Penzel, S., Lends, A., Cadalbert, R., Ernst, M., Meier, B.H., Microsecond dynamics in ubiquitin probed by solid-state N-15 NMR spectroscopy R relaxation experiments under fast MAS (60–110 kHz), Chem. Eur. J. 2017, 23(39), 9425-9433.

Lakomek, N.A., Ying, J., Bax, A., Measurement of 15N relaxation rates in perdeuterated proteins by TROSY-based methods, J. Biomol. NMR 2012, 53, 209-221.

Lange, O.F., Lakomek, N.A., Farès, C., Schröder, G.F., Walter, K.F.A., Becker, S., Meiler, J., Grubmüller, H., Griesinger, C., de Groot, Bert L., Recognition dynamics up to microseconds revealed from an RDC-derived ubiquitin ensemble in solution, Science 2008, 320, 1471-1475.

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