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Dr Pawel Burkhardt

Dr Pawel Burkhardt

Research Fellow

Pawel’s research focuses on the evolutionary origin of synaptic proteins. He uses choanoflagellates, the closest living relatives of animals, sponges, animals with no synapses and neurons, and ctenophores, animals with synapses and neurons, as model organisms.

The goal of his research is to understand when the proteins required for synaptic activity first evolved, how they functioned at a molecular level and which combinations of synaptic proteins resulted in the origin of the synapse.

His work will shed light on the evolutionary history of these proteins and the evolution of the first synapses and neurons.