Dr. Till Luckenbach
Till Luckenbach, a molecular ecotoxicologist, is a senior researcher at the Department Bioanalytical Ecotoxicology. He works at the UFZ since 2006. Luckenbach studied biology at the University of Tübingen, where in 2002 he also received his doctorate. In 2002 he was a postdoc at the Max-Planck Institute for Developmental Biology in Tübingen, and, from 2002-2005, at Hopkins Marine Station of Stanford University in Pacific Grove, CA.
Funding for Till Luckenbach`s work was obtained from various sources, including the State of Baden-Württemberg (PhD fellowship), the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD; PhD and postdoc fellowships, bi-national exchanges with Croatia (Dr. Tvrtko Smital, RBI) and Spain (Dr. Barata, CSIC)), the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG; postdoc fellowship, early career grant), the Helmholtz Association (Helmholtz-Russia Joint Research Group with partners Irkutsk State University, Alfred-Wegener Institute, Bremerhaven, University of Leipzig) and the UFZ (joint project of five UFZ departments).
Till Luckenbach received the SETAC Best Publication Award 2006
Luckenbach`s research interest is in molecular mechanisms that control the uptake of chemicals from the outside and interactions of environmental contaminants with this system. One focus of his work is on molecular "pumps" located in the outer membrane of cells. These pumps are transporter proteins that prevent toxic chemicals from accumulating inside the cell. Action of these proteins confers resistance of cells against a broad range of toxic chemicals, which is called multixenobiotic resistance or MXR. These transporters are important determinants of toxicokinetics of many chemicals. Luckenbach develops tests to study these transporters and study interaction of environmental chemicals with this defensive mechanism. A problem arising from such interaction could be that function of the transporter proteins is impaired and they lose some of their protective power. Study systems include the zebrafish embryo, marine and freshwater invertebrates and cellular systems. Various chemical (such as chemical uptake) and biological aspects (such as joint actions of chemicals in a mixture) with regard to active transport mechanisms are addressed in collaborations within the Biotox department and with colleagues from other departments.
Some of these aspects are currently explored in a field-related project at Lake Baikal in Eastern Siberia. The lake is inhabited by a unique, species-rich endemic fauna and it is a question of high interest how this fauna is affected by the current rapid environmental changes regarding water chemistry and climate.