Professor Dr. Oliver Brüstle

Institute of Reconstructive Neurobiology
University of Bonn

Scientific Director
Life & Brain GmbH
Sigmund-Freud-Str. 25
D- 53127 Bonn

Phone +49  (0) 228 6885-500

Website Institute of Reconstructive Neurobiology
Website Life & Brain

Curriculum vitae Professor Dr. Oliver Brüstle

Research Interests

We have a key interest in the mechanisms underlying stem cell self-renewal and differentiation and in exploiting them for the controlled generation of defined classes of neural stem cells from human pluripotent stem cells. Combining this expertise with cell reprogramming and direct transcription factor-based cell fate conversion we generate human neurons and glia from patient skin fibroblasts and employ them for deciphering driver mechanisms involved in the molecular and cellular pathogenesis of neurodegenerative diseases. Examples of ongoing studies include human ES and iPS cell-based models of Alzheimer’s disease and polyglutamine disorders. In collaboration with LIFE & BRAIN GmbH we extend these approaches towards industrialized solutions for stem cell-based drug development. In a second line of studies we use pluripotent stem cell-derived neurons and glia in order to develop transplant-based strategies for the treatment of neurological diseases such as metabolic disorders, epilepsy and dysmyelinating diseases.


  • Cell reprogramming/generation of patient-specific iPS cells;
  • forward programming/direct neuronal conversion;
  • neural differentiation of pluripotent stem cells;
  • iPS cell-based modelling of neurological disease;
  • neural transplantation;
  • neuronal and glial cell replacement;
  • bioengineering.

5 most important publications

1. Ladewig J, Koch P, Brüstle O. (2014) Auto-attraction of neural precursors and their neuronal progeny impairs neuronal migration. Nat Neurosci, 17(1):24-26. doi: 10.1038/nn.3583.

2. Ladewig J, Mertens J, Kesavan J, Doerr J, Poppe D, Glaua F, Herms S, Wernet P, Kögler G, Müller FJ, Koch P, Brüstle O. (2012) Small molecules enable highly efficient neuronal conversion of human fibroblasts. Nature Methods, 9: 575-578.

3. Koch P*, Breuer P*, Peitz M*, Jungverdorben J*, Kesavan J, Poppe D, Doerr J, Ladewig J, Mertens J, Tüting T, Hoffmann P, Klockgether T, Evert BO, Wüllner U, Brüstle O. (2011) Excitation-induced ataxin-3 aggregation in neurons from patients with Machado-Joseph disease. Nature, 480: 543-546.

4. Koch P, Opitz T, Steinbeck J, Ladewig J, Brüstle O. (2009) A rosette-type, self-renewing human ES cellderived neural stem cell with potential for in vitro instruction and synaptic integration. PNAS USA, 106: 3225-3230.

5. Brüstle O, Jones KN, Learish RD, Karram K, Choudhary K, Wiestler OD, Duncan ID, McKay RDG. (1999) Embryonic stem cell-derived glial precursors: a source of myelinating transplants. Science, 285: 754-756.