Research Laboratory of the Department of Neurosurgery

Staff

  • Stefano Di Santo, Dr. phil. nat.
  • Susanne Wälchli

Research focuses

  • Neuropathological diseases
  • Neuroregeneration
  • Cell-free therapies
  • Neuroanatomy
  • Neurotrophic factors
  • Zinc biology
  • Inflammation

Methods

  • Organotypic and primary cell cultures
  • Animal models
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Neural differentiation
  • Cell transplantation
  • Microsurgery

Short description

Our research efforts are focused on the development and improvement of therapeutical strategies for neuropathological disorders. Particularly, we study cell transplantation approaches for Parkinson’s disease and the potential of growth factors to interfere with the differentiation and survival of dopaminergic neurons. In a second attempt we investigate on the regenerative potential of soluble factors secreted by circulating precursors of endothelial cells. So we have recently shown that the secretome of these progenitor cells considerably enhanced the survival and function of rat brain microvascular cells. These effects involve several signaling mechanisms and are mediated by a concerted action of non-proteinaceous and proteinaceous factors. Based on the notion that the myelin associated protein Nogo-A - known as a potent neurite growth inhibitor of the adult CNS - is also found in neurons of the adult and developing CNS we study the expression pattern of Nogo-A in the rat and human midbrain. In addition, we investigate the effects of interfering with both Nogo-A and zinc signaling as a novel strategy for improved survival and function of dopaminergic neurons. Currently we are setting up a new project assessing the potential of applying alternating electric fields as a novel treatment for brain tumors and its specific effects on brain cells.

Further information

Research group’s website