Dr Grabrucker is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Biological Sciences and lead of the Bio Materials Research Cluster in the Bernal Institute, University of Limerick. So far, Dr Grabrucker's research is focused on synaptopathies as key feature of neurodevelopmental diseases. Disruptions in synaptic structure leading to abnormal circuit formation and function are potentially the major determinant of many brain diseases. In general, his work aims to understand how genetic and non-genetic factors contribute to neuronal dysfunction and to develop novel strategies using nanotechnology to normalize function in individuals with synaptopathies.
Dr Grabrucker's current projects focus on gut-brain interactions (nutrition, microbiome, inflammation), and their relevance for Autism. Integrating knowledge of genetic and environmental pathways will complete the developmental map of the brain.
Having identified modifying factors, they are using this knowledge to translate it into novel treatment strategies. Current projects focus on in the development of Nutraceuticals and novel Nanomedicines.
Using high-resolution fluorescence microscopy, protein biochemistry, cell culture methods such as the generation of primary neuronal cultures and iPSC from human patients, histological techniques (IHC, Golgi staining, zinc visualization), measurement of biometals, generation of animal models and complete behavioral phenotyping, and the development and characterization of novel nanoparticles.


Tosi G, Vilella A, Schmeisser MJ, Boeckers TM, Ruozi B, Vandelli MA, Forni F, Zoli M, Grabrucker AM: Insight on the fate of CNS-targeted nanoparticles. Part II: Intercellular neuronal cell-to-cell transport. Journal of Controlled Release 2014; 177C: 96-107.
DOI: 10.1016/j.jconrel.2014.01.004

Grabrucker S, Jannetti L, Eckert M, Gaub S, Chhabra R, Pfaender S, Mangus K, Reddy PP, Rankovic V, Schmeisser MJ, Kreutz MR, Ehret G, Boeckers TM, Grabrucker AM: Zinc deficiency dysregulates the synaptic ProSAP/Shank scaffold and might contribute to autism spectrum disorders. Brain 2014; 137 (Pt 1): 137-152.
DOI: 10.1093/brain/awt303

Schmeisser MJ, Ey E, Wegener S, Bockmann J, Stempel AV, Kuebler A, Janssen AL, Udvardi PT, Shiban E, Spilker C, Balschun D, Skryabin BV, Tom Dieck S, Smalla KH, Montag D, Leblond CS, Faure P, Torquet N, LE Sourd AM, Toro R, Grabrucker AM, Shoichet SA, Schmitz D, Kreutz MR, Bourgeron T, Gundelfinger ED, Boeckers TM: Autistic-like behaviours and hyperactivity in mice lacking ProSAP1/Shank2. Nature, 2012, 486 (7402): 256-260.
DOI: 10.1038/nature11015

Grabrucker AM, Schmeisser MJ, Schoen M, Boeckers TM: Postsynaptic ProSAP/Shank scaffolds in the cross-hair of synaptopathies. Trends in Cell Biology 2011, (10): 594-603. DOI: 10.1016/j.tcb.2011.07.003. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tcb.2011.07.003

Grabrucker AM, Knight MJ, Proepper C, Bockmann J, Joubert M, Rowan M, Nienhaus GU, Garner CC, Bowie JU, Kreutz MR, Gundelfinger ED, Boeckers TM: Concerted action of zinc and ProSAP/Shank in synaptogenesis and synapse maturation. EMBO Journal 2011, 30 (3): 569-581.
DOI: 10.1038/emboj.2010.336