Inside the mind of an Abcam neuroscientist

We talk to our scientific support neuroscience expert, Carsten Dornblut, about the latest neuro trends and what he loves most about the field. 

Carsten Dornblut, Scientific Support Neuroscientist

​​​​​​This month, to celebrate SfN, we’re shining a spotlight on all things neuroscience. With that in mind, we wanted to find out what it’s like to be a neuroscientist. What inspires scientists to move down this research path? What’s new and upcoming for this field? So, we asked one of Abcam’s very own scientific support neuroscientists, Carsten Dornblut, about his own experiences and thoughts on the new trends and discoveries he’s particularly excited to see developing. Here’s what Carsten had to tell us.  

How did your neuroscience journey begin?

During my PhD thesis at the Leibniz Institute on Aging in Germany, I studied the molecular mechanisms of tumor development in the peripheral nervous system. Later, I became interested in the study of glia within the central nervous system in both normal and disease models. I was particularly interested in delineating the molecular mechanisms required for myelination and remyelination. 

​​What is it that you love about neuroscience?

The nervous system is probably the most complex structure in our body, and we rely on its function for every moment of our life. However, we have not fully understood how it works or found a cure to a number of its diseases. The huge advances made in the last two decades, especially for glial cells or neuronal stem cells, may help us to tackle neurological diseases or give insight to key aspects maintaining brain function. I think working in the neuroscience field is very rewarding because there is a chance it will have a significant impact on the quality of human life in the future. 

Which new trends in neuroscience are you most excited about?

The areas I like to follow are the utilization of induced pluripotent stem (iPS) technology in the field of central nervous system (CNS) regeneration, and the molecular details of how neurons and glia change with age and react to injury. Another fascinating aspect is how we can then translate these findings into artificial intelligence or machine learning. This goes both ways: the field of artificial intelligence may advance by a better understanding of the human nervous system, while machine learning itself allows us to identify patterns in data analysis, we were previously unable to comprehend (eg Deep learning for biology – a recent Nature article1).

Are there any neuroscience questions you are frequently asked in scientific support?

Abcam offers a range of useful markers to study brain function. We receive questions about which of these markers are recommended for a certain project or application. What the likelihood of cross-reactivity in an untested species or xenograft model is also a common question. Furthermore, if an antibody is not working as expected, we try to help by troubleshooting the protocol the customer is using or by providing an alternative antibody that may be better suited to their application.  

When I was talking to Carsten, it was clear just how passionate he was about neuroscience. He was delighted to talk about why this research area is important to him and why everyone should be excited to learn more about the latest neuroscience research. If any neuroscientists out there need scientific support for your experiments and protocol troubleshooting, Carsten is the man to help.

Finally, as part of our neuroscience month, we want to hear about your neuroscience stories. Tweet @Abcam and send us updates on what you’re working on or which neuro discoveries you’re most excited about, we want to hear about it all!


1) Webb, S. Nature 554, 555-557 (2018)