Laboratory of Neural Plasticity

Neural stem cells (NSCs) generate new neurons throughout life in two distinct areas of the mammalian brain. Adult neurogenesis has been implicated in tissue homeostasis, physiologic brain function, and is also associated with a number of neuro-psychiatric diseases, such as cognitive aging and depression. Understanding the mechanisms underlying adult neurogenesis represents a prerequisite for future therapeutic targeting of adult NSCs for endogenous brain repair. Our previous work has identified several pathways/genes that are critically involved in certain steps, from the dividing NSC to the integrating newborn neuron, during the developmental course of adult neurogenesis. Further, we have participated in efforts to characterize the functional role of adult neurogenesis on a behavioral level. Currently, we use novel imaging approaches and a variety of molecular tools to study the molecular and cellular framework of NSC diversity in the mouse and human brain. In addition, our laboratory aims to understand how physiologic and disease-associated alterations of the neurogenic niche are translated into stem cell-associated plastic changes of the adult brain on a cellular and behavioral level.

Recent key publications:

Pilz GA, Bottes S, Betizeau M, Jörg DJ, Carta S, Simons BD, Helmchen F, Jessberger S (2018) Live imaging of neurogenesis in the adult hippocampus. Science 359:658-662

Moore DL, Pilz GA, Araúzo-Bravo MJ, Barral Y, Jessberger S (2015) A mechanism for the segregation of age in mammalian neural stem cells. Science 349:1334-8

Knobloch M, Braun SMG, Zurkirchen L, von Schoultz C, Zamboni N, Kovacs WJ, Araùzo-Bravo MJ, Karalay O, Suter U, Machado R, Roccio M, Lutolf MP, Semenkovich CF, Jessberger S (2013) Metabolic control of adult neural stem cell activity by Fasn-dependent lipogenesis. Nature 493:226-30

Sebastian Jessberger is Professor for Neurosciences and Managing Director of the Brain Research Institute. He studied Medicine in Hamburg, Germany and carried out his medical thesis at the Center for Molecular Neurobiology (ZMNH) in Hamburg. In 2002 he started a joint residency in the laboratory of Gerd Kempermann at the Max Delbruck Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC) and the Dept. of Neurology of the Charité University Hospital in Berlin, Germany. As a postdoctoral fellow (2004-2007) in the laboratory of Fred H. Gage at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, USA he continued to work on neural stem cell biology and neurogenesis in the adult brain. From 2007 to 2012 he was Assistant Professor at the ETH Zurich and joined the Brain Research Institute in August 2012. He is a fellow of the MaxnetAging network of the Max Planck Society, received several prizes (e.g., Friedrich Götz prize 2013, Robert Bing prize 2016) and was awarded to join the EMBO Young Investigator program in 2012. He received an ERC Consolidator Grant in 2016.