Martin Schwab’s expertise is in developmental neurobiology and mechanisms of repair of the brain and spinal cord. In 1985 he postulated the concept of “inhibitors of neurite growth” as a cause of the absent regeneration of injured fiber tracts in the central nervous system, which was a novel, anti-dogmatic hypothesis. Subsequently, he isolated one of the most potent nerve fiber growth inhibitors, Nogo-A. When this component was blocked, regeneration and functional repair could be shown for the first time in adult rats and monkeys after spinal cord injury. Cell biological studies on the mechanism of action of Nogo-A and its functional role in the developing and adult CNS are a focus of his current work, in parallel to studies on brain and spinal cord repair and currently on-going clinical trial testing the effects of anti-Nogo-A antibodies in paraplegic patients (in collaboration with Novartis).
Martin E. Schwab is full professor of Brain Research at the University of Zurich (since 1985) and full professor of Neurosciences at the ETH Zurich (since 1997). He is the founder of the Neuroscience Center Zurich (ZNZ) and was managing director of the National Center of Competence in Research (NCCR) “Neural Plasticity and Repair”.