Prof. Dr. Frank Heppner

Research areas/focus

My research group aims to understand the impact of the immune system on the pathogenesis of neurological diseases such as neurodegenerative diseases. Generating and utilizing murine disease models in order to study the contribution of specific immune molecules in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and investigating the detailed mechanism of Abeta-vaccination in AD are my major research foci.

Based on one of my major discoveries, namely that inhibition of the immune molecules interleukin (IL)-12 and -23 results in a drastic amelioration of Alzheimer's disease pathology, I am aiming to initiate a first clinical trial to test IL-12/23 inhibition in Alzheimer's patients by repurposing existing drugs. Besides, I have a long-standing interest in understanding microglia biology in health and disease. To enable translation, we recently established a biobank in order to collect tissues including brains from patients with neurodegenerative diseases, which will support our translational efforts. I have contributed to more than 100 peer-reviewed articles, many of them published in leading journals such as Science, Nature, Nature Medicine, Nature Neuroscience and Neuron.

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