Neuro-Oncology

Department of Neurosurgery

Group Members

Christina Zechel (Group leader)
Jan Nils Küchler (PostDoc)
Janica Reclam (PhD student)
Hendrik Pott (Medical student)
Manaf Rana (Medical student)
Johannes Ostermaier (Medical student)
Viktoria Willeke (Medical student)
Florian Däumer (Medical student)
Edith Pawlak (Technician)


Research Interests

Our research focusses on adult neural stem cells (adNSC) and stem-like glioma cells (SLGCs). We want to elucidate the proliferation and differentiation potential of adNSC and SLGCs under defined conditions. This includes treatment of adNSC and SLGC cultures with distinct compounds, as well as RNA interference and genome editing. The compounds used include synthetic retinoids, growth factors and trophic factors, components of the extracellular matrix and inhibitors/activators of defined signaling pathways. The changes (i) of phenotypes and growth behavior, (ii) in proliferation, metabolism, vitality and cell death, or (iii) in the epigenome are assessed.

Regarding the SLGCs we are particularly interested in the molecular and cellular basis of therapy resistance of malignant human brain tumor cells. We are comparing the responsiveness of glioma cells from distinct patients to monotherapy with the alkylating compound Temozolomide (TMZ) or combined chemo-/radiotherapy. These analyses address aspects of stemness, metabolism, vitality and migration. In addition to cell culture systems we use SCID mice and a glioma explant model for this purpose. The respective glioma explant model has been established in our laboratory during the past years. So far, our adNSC research was limited by the availability of human material and the immediate differentiation of adNSCs in in vitro cultures. We have established and characterized a mouse and a rat adNSC line, both of which show a high stability in cell cultures. Future research will elucidate strategies to maintain human adNSC in in vitro systems in order to apply defined differentiation protocols.  


Latest Publications

  1. Kuechler J, Abusamha A, Ziemann S, Tronnier V, Gliemroth J. Impact of percutaneous dilatational tracheostomy in brain injured patients. Clin Neurol Neursurg 137:137-141, 2015.
  2. Raju S.E.N., Kuechler J, Behling S, Sridhar S, Hirseland E, Tronnier V, Zechel C. Maintenance of stem-like glioma cells and microglia in an organotypic glioma slice model.   Neurosurgery 77: 629-643, 2015.
  3. Choschzick I, Hirseland E, Cramer H, Schultz S, Leppert J, Tronnier V, Zechel C. Responsiveness of stem-like human glioma cells to all-trans retinoic acid and requirement of retinoic acid receptor isotypes α, β and γ. Neuroscience 279:44-64, 2014.