3D brain organoid

Facilities & Ressources

Clinical setting

The clinical Department of Neurodegenerative Diseases runs largest Parkinson’s outpatient clinic in southern Germany, specialized in early and differential diagnosis of the disorder. Patients with severe disease are treated on the departments inpatient ward. This allows physicians and researchers to follow large longitudinal cohorts and to collect clinical data and biospecimens with the goal to find new biomarkers and factors that modify the course of the disease. Together with the DZNE Tuebingen, an Integrated Care and Research Unit (ICRU) with a trained staff of neurospychologists, study nurses and technicians has been created to facilitate observational and inverventional clinical trials.

Probands of DZNE-studies are now also seen in the new study center at the DZNE building.


Since more than 10 years, physicians at the clinical Department of Neurodegenerative diseases have systematically followed patients with Parkinson’s disease and persons at risk for PD and other neurodegenerative diseases. Many of these individuals have donated blood, DNA and other biomaterials to our BioBank. Careful documentation of clinical signs and symptoms allows to correlate genetic risks and biomarker profiles to the evolution of the disease, giving important insight into the evolution of the disease. Care is taken to comply to data safety regulations of the highest standards.

Genetic pipelines

Many of our patients have consented to be screened for genetic variants that may cause or influence the course of the disease. Together with many collaborators world-wide, we are therefore able to identify the causative genes in familial cases and to explore the contribution of genetic factors the more common sporadic forms of PD. Today we are already running the first clinical trials in patients with certain gene mutations trying to the disturbed cellular pathways. Eventually we expect that this research will enable us to predict the development and progression of the disease and its various symptoms and to provide earlier and more targeted treatments with ever greater accuracy.


Together with the DZNE, the center of Neurology in Tübingen jointly runs one of the largest BioBanks for Parkinson’s disease worldwide. For example, more than 4000 DNA samples, 2000 CSF and blood samples from patients with different parkinsonian syndromes have been collected under the highest quality standards and are available for researchers. In many of them, longitudinal data on disease evolution are available, making these samples particularly valuable. Other body fluids and fibroblasts from patients and controls are also banked. Importantly, through the clinical department, new material can be obtained.

Human induced pluripotent stem cells

The nobelprize-winning discovery that differentiated cells can be turned into induced pluripotent stemc cells (IPSCs) and then made to differentiate into almost any cell type has revolutionized brain research, because it means that brain cells from patients, that previously had been practically unaccessible during life, can now be studied in a dish. In Tübingen, we are extensively using this technology, to the extent that we can study thousands of individual cultures in a highly automated fashion (cellomics).

Genomic resources

The DZNE Tubingen, the HIH and the clinical neurology department have created a state of the art platform for genomic research, using transcriptomics, epigenetics, proteomics and high-throughput cellomics to analyze cells from a large number of well characterized patients. A team of data scientists explores the data and collaborates with scientists from other disciplines to connect and integrate the data with non-genomic datasets. The integration of genomic data with microscopy and/or phenotypic data will help to generate new hypothesis and open new avenues of research. We are embedded in an excellent environment at Tübingen University, with its Quantitative Biology Platform QBiC. In addition, Tübingen has been selected as one of only three “next generation sequencing hubs” by the DFG, providing  unparalleled capacities for sequencing and data analysis.


Researchers and physicians of the Defeat Parkinson's Platform are active and often leading members of many international research networks.

  • the International Parkinson's Disease Genomics Consortium [IPDGC],
  • the MJFF-funded PPMI and P-PPMI Study
  • the MJFF LRRK2 biological consortium,
  • the Centre-PD consortium (Luxemburg, Oxford, Tübingen),
  • DecipherPD consortium on epigenomics of Parkinson’s disease


The Defeat Parkinson’s Platform is supported by institutional funds from the Charitable Hertie Foundation, the University of Tübingen, the German Center for Neurodegenerative diseases (DZNE) and by project funding from the German research Council (DFG), the German ministry for science and research (BMBF), the European Commission (EC), the Michael J Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research (MJFF), iMed—the Helmholtz Initiative on Personalized Medicine, and private donors.

Funded projects:

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