Prof. Dr. Frank Bradke

Group Leader

German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE)
Ludwig-Erhard-Allee 2
53175 Bonn

+49 (0) 228 / 43302-688 (Secretary)

Group members

Name Phone
Pedro Nkanga, Assistant +49 (0) 228/43302-688
Dr. Charlotte Coles, Postdoc +49 (0) 228/43302-592
Dr. Stanislav Vinopal, Postdoc +49 (0) 228/43302-593
Dr. Andrea Tedeschi, Postdoc +49 (0) 228/43302-593
Dr. Sina Stern, Postdoc +49 (0) 228/43302-593
Claudia Laskowski, PhD Student +49 (0) 228/43302-593
Dr. David Elliott, Postdoc +49 (0) 228/43302-592
Dr. Jörg Ruschel, Postdoc +49 (0) 228/43302-594
Dr. Sebastian Dupraz, Postdoc +49 (0) 228/43302-594
Telma Emanuela Da Silva Santos, PhD Student +49 (0) 228/43302-594
Liane Meyn, Technical Assistant +49 (0) 228/43302-591
Jessica Gonyer, Technical Assistant +49 (0) 228/43302-591
Click on the magnifying glass for a large image.

Open Positions

We always seek highly motivated PhD students and postdoctoral researchers interested in the fields of molecular and cellular neurobiology, molecular systems biology, and animal models of neurodegeneration and regeneration. To apply, please send an email to Frank Bradke with a single pdf-file attachment containing one page of motivation letter, a short CV with list of publications and other achievements, and the names and Email addresses of 2-4 mentors who agreed to provide a short letter of recommendation on your behalf. The DZNE is an equal opportunity employer. The DZNE is committed to employing more disabled individuals and especially encourages them to apply.


Systemic administration of epothilone B promotes axon regeneration after spinal cord injury. 

Ruschel J, Hellal F, Flynn KC, Dupraz S, Elliott DA, Tedeschi A, Bates M, Sliwinski C, Brook G, Dobrindt K, Peitz M, Brüstle O, Norenberg MD, Blesch A, Weidner N, Bunge MB, Bixby JL, Bradke F.  Science. 2015 Mar 12. pii: aaa2958. doi: 10.1126/science.aaa2958. [Epub ahead of print]

Microtubule Organization in the Axon: TRIM46 Determines the Orientation.

Curcio M, Bradke F. Neuron. 2015 Dec 16;88(6):1072-4. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2015.12.006.

Coordinating Neuronal Actin-Microtubule Dynamics

Coles CH, Bradke F. Curr Biol. 2015 Aug 3;25(15):R677-91. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2015.06.020. Review.

A Dual SILAC Proteomic Labeling Strategy for Quantifying Constitutive and Cell-Cell Induced Protein Secretion

Stiess M, Wegehingel S, Nguyen C, Nickel W, Bradke F, Cambridge SB. J Proteome Res. 2015 Aug 7;14(8):3229-38. doi: 10.1021/acs.jproteome.5b00199. Epub 2015 Jul 20. 

AAV-mediated expression of BAG1 and ROCK2-shRNA promote neuronal survival and axonal sprouting in a rat model of rubrospinal tract injury. 

Challagundla M, Koch JC, Ribas VT, Michel U, Kügler S, Ostendorf T, Bradke F, Müller HW, Bähr M, Lingor P.  J Neurochem. 2015 Mar 25. doi: 10.1111/jnc.13102. [Epub ahead of print]

Mouse model of CADASIL reveals novel insights into Notch3 function in adult hippocampal neurogenesis. 

Ehret F, Vogler S, Pojar S, Elliott DA, Bradke F, Steiner B, Kempermann G.  Neurobiol Dis. 2015 Mar;75:131-41. doi: 10.1016/j.nbd.2014.12.018. Epub 2014 Dec 31.

Accumulation of Glucosylceramide in the Absence of the Beta-Glucosidase GBA2 Alters Cytoskeletal Dynamics. 

Raju D, Schonauer S, Hamzeh H, Flynn KC, Bradke F, Vom Dorp K, Dörmann P, Yildiz Y, Trötschel C, Poetsch A, Breiden B, Sandhoff K, Körschen HG, Wachten D.  PLoS Genet. 2015 Mar 24;11(3):e1005063. doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1005063. eCollection 2015 Feb.

A new "spin" on recovery after spinal cord injury.

Tedeschi A, Bradke F. Cell. 2014 Dec 18;159(7):1494-6. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2014.12.014.

A Simple Method for 3D Analysis of Immunolabeled Axonal Tracts in a Transparent Nervous System

Belle M, Godefroy D, Dominici C, Heitz-Marchaland C, Zelina P, Hellal F, Bradke F, Chédotal A. Cell Rep. 2014 Nov 20;9(4):1191-201. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2014.10.037. Epub 2014 Nov 6.

An assay to image neuronal microtubule dynamics in mice.

Kleele T, Marinković P, Williams PR, Stern S, Weigand EE, Engerer P, Naumann R, Hartmann J, Karl RM, Bradke F, Bishop D, Herms J, Konnerth A, Kerschensteiner M, Godinho L, Misgeld T. Nat Commun. 2014 Sep 12;5:4827. doi: 10.1038/ncomms5827.

Microtubule Self-Organization via Protein-RNA Network Crosstalk.

Coles CH, Bradke F. Cell. 2014 Jul 17;158(2):245-7. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2014.06.044.

Editorial overview: Development and regeneration: Nervous system development and regeneration

Bradke F, Marín O. Curr Opin Neurobiol. 2014 Jun 11. pii: S0959-4388(14)00108-1. doi: 10.1016/j.conb.2014.05.007.

Minimum Information About a Spinal Cord Injury Experiment (MIASCI) - a proposed reporting standard for spinal cord injury experiments.

Lemmon VP, Ferguson AR, Popovich PG, Xu XM, Snow DM, Igarashi M, Beattie CE, Bixby JL, Consortium M, Abeyruwan SW, Beattie MS, Bethea J, Bradke F, Bresnahan JC, Bunge MB, Callahan A, David S, Dunlop SA, Fawcett J, Fehlings M, Fischer I, Giger RJ, Goshima Y, Grimpe B, Hagg T, Hall ED, Harrison BJ, Harvey AR, He C, He Z, Hirata T, Hoke A, Hulsebosch CE, Hurtado A, Jain A, Kadoya K, Kamiguchi H, Kengaku M, Kocsis JD Ph D, Kwon BK, Lee JK, Liebl DJ PhD, Liu SJ, Lowery LA, Mandrekar-Colucci S, Martin JH, Mason CA, McTigue DM, Mokarram N, Moon LD, Muller HW, Nakamura T, Namba T, Nishibe M, Oinuma I, Oudega M, Pleasure DE, Raisman G, Rasband MN, Reier PJ, Santiago-Medina M, Schwab JM, Schwab ME, Shinmyo Y, Silver J, Smith GM, So KF, Sofroniew MV Md PhD, Strittmatter SM, Tuszynski MH, Twiss JL, Visser U, Watkins TA, Wu W, Yoon SO, Yuzaki M, Zheng B, Zhou F, Zou Y. J Neurotrauma. 2014 May 28. [Epub ahead of print]

PCAF-dependent epigenetic changes promote axonal regeneration in the central nervous system

Puttagunta R*, Tedeschi A*, Grando Soria M, Herver A, Lindner R, Rathore KI, Gaub P, Joshi Y, Nguyen T, Schmandke A , Laskowski CL, Boutillier A-L, Bradke F, Di Giovanni S. Nat Commun. 5:3527 doi: 10.1038/ncomms4527 (2014) * Equal contribution.

Single cell axotomy of cultured hippocampal neurons integrated in neuronal circuits.

Gomis-Rüth S, Stiess M, Wierenga CJ, Meyn L, Bradke F. Nat. Protocols. 2014 Apr;9(5):1028–37. doi:10.1038/nprot.2014.069

The DLK signalling pathway--a double-edged sword in neural development and regeneration.

Tedeschi A, Bradke F. EMBO Rep. 2013 Jul;14(7):605-14. doi:10.1038/embor.2013.64 Epub 2013 May. Review.

In vivo imaging: A dynamic imaging approach to study spinal cord regeneration.

Laskowski CJ, Bradke F. Exp Neurol. 2013 Apr;242:11-7. doi: 10.1016/j.expneurol.2012.07.007

High-resolution imaging of entire organs by 3-dimensional imaging of solvent cleared organs (3DISCO).

Ertürk A, Bradke F. Exp Neurol. 2013 Apr;242:57-64. doi: 10.1016/j.expneurol.2012.10.018

Reducing HDAC6 ameliorates cognitive deficits in a mouse model for Alzheimer's disease.

Govindarajan N, Rao P, Burkhardt S, Sananbenesi F, Schlüter OM, Bradke F, Lu J, Fischer A. EMBO Mol Med. 2013 Jan;5(1):52-63. doi: 10.1002/emmm.2012.01.923.

ADF/cofilin-mediated Actin Retrograde Flow Directs Neurite Formation in the Developing Brain

Flynn KC, Hellal F, Neukirchen D, Jacobs S, Tahirovic S, Dupraz S, Stern S, Garvalov BK, Gurniak C, Shaw A, Meyn L, Wedlich-Söldner R, Bamburg JR, Small JV, Witke W, Bradke F. Neuron. 2012 Dec 20;76(6):1091-107. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2012.09.038.

Three-dimensional imaging of solvent-cleared organs using 3DISCO.

Ertürk A, Becker K, Jährling N, Mauch CP, Hojer CD, Egen JG, Hellal F, Bradke F, Sheng M, Dodt HU. Nat Protoc. 2012 Oct 11;7(11):1983-95. doi: 10.1038/nprot.2012.119. Epub 2012 Oct 11.

Serum Response Factor (SRF)-cofilin-actin signaling axis modulates mitochondrial dynamics.

Beck H, Flynn K, Lindenberg KS, Schwarz H, Bradke F, di Giovanni S, Knöll B. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2012 Sep 18;109(38):E2523-32. Epub 2012 Aug 27.

Assembly of a new growth cone after axotomy: the precursor to axon regeneration.

Bradke F, Fawcett JW, Spira ME. Nat Rev Neurosci. 2012 Feb 15;13(3):183-93. doi: 10.1038/nrn3176.

Three-dimensional imaging of the unsectioned adult spinal cord to assess axon regeneration and glial responses after injury.

A Ertürk, CP Mauch, F Hellal, F Förstner, T Keck, K Becker, N Jährling, H Steffens, M Richter, M Hübener, E Kramer, F Kirchhoff, HU Dodt, F Bradke; Nat Med. 2011 Dec 25;18(1):166-71. doi: 10.1038/nm.2600.

Cryo Electron Tomography of Herpes Simplex Virus during Axonal Transport and Secondary Envelopment in Primary Neurons.

I Ibiricu, JT Huiskonen, K Döhner, F Bradke, B Sodeik, K Grünewald; PLoS Pathog. 2011 Dec;7(12):e1002406. Epub 2011 Dec 15.

Tumor suppressor down-regulated in renal cell carcinoma 1 (DRR1) is a stress-induced actin bundling factor that modulates synaptic efficacy and cognition.

MV Schmidt, JP Schülke, C Liebl, M Stiess, C Avrabos, J Bock, GM Wochnik, HA Davies, N Zimmermann, SH Scharf, D Trümbach, W Wurst, W Zieglgänsberger, C Turck, F Holsboer, MG Stewart, F Bradke, M Eder, MB Müller, T Rein; Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2011 Oct 11;108(41):17213-8. Epub 2011 Oct 3.

Neuronal polarization and the cytoskeleton.

D Neukirchen, F Bradke; Semin Cell Dev Biol. 2011 Oct;22(8):825-33. Epub 2011 Aug 22.

Neuronal polarization: the cytoskeleton leads the way.

M Stiess, F Bradke; Dev Neurobiol. 2011 Jun;71(6):430-44. doi: 10.1002/dneu.20849. Review.

Microtubule Stabilization Reduces Scarring and Causes Axon Regeneration After Spinal Cord Injury.

F Hellal, A Hurtado, J Ruschel, KC Flynn, CJ Laskowski, M Umlauf, LC Kapitein, D Strikis, V Lemmon, J Bixby, CC Hoogenraad, F Bradke; Science. 2011 Feb 18;331(6019):928-31. Epub 2011 Jan 27.

Cytoplasmic Linker Proteins Regulate Neuronal Polarization through Microtubule and Growth Cone Dynamics.

D Neukirchen, F Bradke; J Neurosci. 2011 Jan 26;31(4):1528-38.

Controlled Demolition: Smurf1 Regulates Neuronal Polarity by Substrate Switching.

M Stiess, F Bradke; Neuron. 2011 Jan 27;69(2):183-5.

Neuronal polarization: The cytoskeleton leads the way.

M Stiess, F Bradke; Dev Neurobiol. 2011 Jun;71(6):430-44. doi: 10.1002/dneu.20849.

Neuronal transport: myosins pull the ER.

M Stiess, F Bradke; Nat Cell Biol. 2011 Jan;13(1):10-1. Epub 2010 Dec 12.

Electrical activity suppresses axon growth through Cav1.2 channels in adult primary sensory neurons.

J Enes, N Langwieser, J Ruschel, MM Carballosa-Gonzalez, A Klug, MH Traut, B Ylera, S Tahirovic, F Hofmann, V Stein, S Moosmang, ID Hentall, F Bradke; Curr Biol. 2010 Jul 13;20(13):1154-64. Epub 2010 Jun 24.

Rac1 regulates neuronal polarization through the WAVE complex.

S Tahirovic, F Hellal, D Neukirchen, R Hindges, BK Garvalov, KC Flynn, TE Stradal, A Chrostek-Grashoff, F Bradke; J Neurosci. 2010 May 19;30(20):6930-43.

A chemical screen identifies novel compounds that overcome glial-mediated inhibition of neuronal regeneration.

LC Usher, A Johnstone, A Erturk, Y Hu, D Strikis, IB Wanner, S Moorman, JW Lee, J Min, HH Ha, Y Duan, S Hoffman, J Goldberg, F Bradke, YT Chang, VP Lemmon, JL Bixby; J Neurosci. 2010 Mar 31;30(13):4693-706.

Axon extension occurs independently of centrosomal microtubule nucleation.

M Stiess, M Maghelli, LC Kapitein, S Gomis-Rüth, M Wilsch-Bräuninger, C Hoogenraad, IM Tolić-Nørrelykke, F Bradke; Science. 2010 Feb 5;327(5966):704-7. Epub 2010 Jan 7.

Control of neuronal polarity and plasticity - a renaissance for microtubules?

CC Hoogenraad, F Bradke; Trends Cell Biol. 2009 Dec;19(12):669-76. Epub 2009 Oct 2.

Growth cone-like waves transport actin and promote axonogenesis and neurite branching.

KC Flynn, CW Pac, AE Shaw, F Bradke, JR Bamburg; Dev Neurobiol. 2009 Oct;69(12):761-79.

Chronically CNS-injured adult sensory neurons gain regenerative competence upon a lesion of their peripheral axon.

B Ylera, A Ertürk, F Hellaf, F Nadrigny, A Hurtado, S Tahirovic, M Oudega, F Kirchhoff, F Bradke; Curr Biol. 2009 Jun 9;19(11):930-6. Epub 2009 Apr 30.

Cytoskeleton in Axon Growth.

M Stiess, F Bradke; Encyclopedia of Life Sciences (ELS). John Wiley & Sons. doi: 10.1002/9780470015902.a0021855

Neuronal Polarity.

S Tahirovic, Bradke F; Cold Spring Harb Perspect Biol. 2009 Sep;1(3):a001644.

The role of the cytoskeleton during neuronal polarization.

H Witte, F Bradke; Curr Opin Neurobiol. 2008 Oct;18(5):479-87. Epub 2008 Oct 25.

Plasticity of polarization: changing dendrites to axons in neurons integrated in neuronal circuits.

S Gomis-Rüth, CJ Wirenga, F Bradke; Curr Biol. 2008 Jul 8;18(13):992-1000.

Lifeact: a versatile marker for the visualization of F-actin.

J Riedl, AH Crevenna, K Kessenbrock, JH Yu, D Neukirchen, M Bista, F Bradke, D Jenne, TA Holak, Z Werb, M Sixt, R Wedlich-Soldner; Nat Methods. 2008 Jul;5(7):605-7. Epub 2008 Jun 8.

Microtubule stabilization specifies initial neuronal polarization.

H Witte, D Neukirchen, F Bradke; J Cell Biol. 2008 Feb 11;180(3):619-32.

Netrin-1 is a novel myelin-associated inhibitor to axon growth.

K Löw, M Culbertson, F Bradke, M Tessier-Lavigne, MH Tuszynski; J Neurosci. 2008 Jan 30;28(5):1099-108.

The role of the cytoskeleton during neuronal polarization.

H Witte, F Bradke; Curr Opin Neurobiol. 2008 Oct;18(5):479-87. Epub 2008 Oct 25.

Cdc42 regulates cofilin during the establishment of neuronal polarity.

BK Garvalov, KC Flynn, D Neukirchen, L Meyn, N Teusch, X Wu, C Brakebusch, JR Bamburg, F Bradke; J Neurosci. 2007 Nov 28;27(48):13117-29.

Disorganized microtubules underlie the formation of retraction bulbs and the failure of axonal regeneration.

A Ertürk, F Hellal, J Enes, F Bradke; J Neurosci. 2007 Aug 22;27(34):9169-80.

Stimulating intrinsic growth potential in mammalian neurons. In: Model Organisms in Spinal Cord Regeneration.

B Ylera, F Bradke; Eds Becker and Becker. Wiley-VCH. doi: 10.1002/9783527610365.ch3

Luminal particles within cellular microtubules.

BK Garvalov, B Zuber, C Bouchet-Marquis, M Kudryashev, M Gruska, M Beck, A Leis, F Frischknecht, F Bradke, W Baumeister, J Dubochet, M Cyrklaff; J Cell Biol. 2006 Sep 11;174(6):759-65. Epub 2006 Sep 5.

Guidance of Axons to Targets in Development and in Disease.

H Witte, F Bradke; Peripheral Neuropathy, 4th Edition. Eds. P.J. Dyck and P.K. Thomas, pp 447-481. Philadelphia: Elsevier Inc.

Regeneration of sensory axons within the injured spinal cord induced by intraganglionic cAMP elevation.

S Neumann, F Bradke, M Tessier-Lavigne, AI Basbaum; Neuron. 2002 Jun 13;34(6):885-93. Shared First-Coauthorship.

Differentiated neurons retain the capacity to generate axons from dendrites.

F Bradke, CG Dotti; Curr Biol. 2000 Nov 16;10(22):1467-70.

Establishment of neuronal polarity: lessons from cultured hippocampal neurons.

F Bradke, CG Dotti; Curr Opin Neurobiol. 2000 Oct;10(5):574-81.

The role of local actin instability in axon formation.

F Bradke, CG Dotti; Science. 1999 Mar 19;283(5409):1931-4.

Neuronal polarity: Vectorial cytoplasmic flow precedes axon formation.

F Bradke, CG Dotti; Neuron. 1997 Dec;19(6):1175-86.

Curriculum Vitae

Frank Bradke studied Biochemistry, Anatomy and Developmental Biology at the Freie Universität Berlin and the University College London. In 1994, he received a B.Sc. degree in Anatomy and Developmental Biology and in 1995 a degree in Biochemistry. During his thesis, he conducted research at the EMBL, Heidelberg. In 1999, he earned his PhD from the Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg. Thereafter, in 2000, as a postdoctoral fellow he moved to Prof. Marc Tessier-Lavigne's laboratory at the University of California, San Francisco and Stanford.  Then, in 2003, he became a Max Planck Institute Research Group Leader at the MPI of Neurobiology, Martinsried. In 2009, Frank Bradke habilitated in Neurobiology at the Ludwig Maximilians-University Munich. In 2011 he received the IRP-Schellenberg-Prize and became full professor at the University of Bonn and Senior Research Groupleader for Axonal Growth and Regeneration at the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE) in Bonn. In 2013 Frank Bradke was elected to the European science organization EMBO. In 2014, he was elected a member of the Leopoldina, the German National Academy of Sciences. In 2016, Frank Bradke received the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz-Prize, the most important research prize in Germany.

Received scholarships and awards at a glance:

  • Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes (1992-1995)
  • EMBO long-term fellow (2000)
  • HFSP (Human Frontier Science Program long term fellow (2001-2002)
  • CDA award from HFSP (2003)
  • Selected Top 100 heads of tomorrow (2007)
  • IRP-Schellenberg Prize (2011)
  • elected EMBO member (2013)
  • elected Leopoldina member, the German National Academy of Sciences (2014)
  • Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz-Prize (2016)

Areas of investigation/research focus

With an injury to the spinal cord (black gap) the extensions of nerve cells (green) are separated. The nerve cells adjust their growth and beginn to swell. Pic.: MPI for Neurobiology/Bradke
With an injury to the spinal cord (black gap) the extensions of nerve cells (green) are separated. The nerve cells adjust their growth and beginn to swell.Click on the magnifying glass for a large image.
Spinal cord. Some nerve cells including their processes are fluorescently labeled. Published in: <i>Nature Medicine</i> (2011) | doi:10.1038/nm.2600
Click on the magnifying glass for a large image.

Lesions in the Central Nervous System (CNS) in mammals have devastating effects because injured axons do not regrow. The CNS myelin and the scar tissue that surrounds the lesion as well as cell-intrinsic mechanisms restrain the growth of injured axons. While there has been a great deal learnt about the key extrinsic factors that contribute to the inhibition of axonal regrowth the intrinsic mechanisms that control axonal growth or pause behaviour are still elusive.

The goal of our laboratory is to understand how axonal growth is regulated in injured and uninjured neurons. To acquire such knowledge we manipulate the growth state of neurons both and and we create new ways to overcome the inhibitory environment of the CNS, a pre-requisite for any therapy of spinal cord lesions.

We use cell biological, videomicroscopy, molecular and biochemical approaches and also study spinal cord injury