CIN Members

In 2007, the CIN started with 25 principal investigators as cluster applicants, as stipulated in the DFG call for bids. When the CIN cluster was approved further  scientists from a range of institutions were incorporated, to make up the 48 'founding members' of the CIN. Since the beginning of 2014 the CIN has consisted of over 80 scientists in total. The membership process involves an application to the steering committee in which the candidate outlines his or her scientific profile and submits a list of publications. The committee's decision is based purely on the scientific excellence of each candidate.

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CIN Members

PD Dr. Tobias Freilinger

Organization: University Hospital Tübingen / Hertie Institute for Clinical Brain Research


Hoppe-Seyler-Str. 3
72076 Tübingen

Phone number: +49 7071 29 80416

Department: Department of Neurology (Epileptology)

Position: Consultant Neurologist

Area: CIN Members

Field of Research

Our group is interested in the genetic basis and molecular pathophysiology of migraine and other primary headache disorders as well as related paroxysmal neurological disorders and neurovascular phenotypes. As a monogenic model disease, we are studying hemiplegic migraine (HM), a rare and severe subtype of migraine with aura. In order to unravel mechanisms underlying cortical hyperexcitabilitiy in HM and better understand the differential pathophysiology of migraine vs. epilepsy, we are performing multimodal in vitro and in vivo analysis of a transgenic knock-in HM mouse model generated by our group, focusing specifically on cortical spreading depression (CSD), the likely correlate of migraine aura. Complementary to these functional studies we are conducting translational pilot trials in affected patients.

As another major focus we are interested in the common genetically complex types of migraine. As part of the International Headache Genetics Consortium (IHGC) we were prominently involved in the identification of all currently established robust risk variants for sporadic migraine. Extending on these findings, we are interested in unraveling the genetic basis of common and clinically relevant comorbidities of migraine, with a special focus on the connection between migraine and cerebrovascular disorders (in particular cervical artery dissection), which we are evaluating also in clinical studies. Further, we are trying to correlate data from high-throughput genotyping studies with clinically relevant parameters and extend genetic approaches also to other primary headache disorders, including trigemino-autonomic cephalalagias.

Our portfolio is complemented by clinical and epidemiological studies in the field of headache disorders including studies of reversible cerebral vasoconstriction syndrome (RCVS) and clinical studies evaluating the role of placebo effects in neurological disorders. Finally, we are engaged in several multicenter treatment trials in headache disorders, which are performed in the context of the outpatient headache unit.

Find out more about our research team here.

Selected Collaborations:
International Headache Genetics Consortium
Institute for Stroke and Dementia Research
Leiden University Medical Center, Department of Neurology and Department of Human Genetics   


Selected peer-reviewed publications (see complete list of publications here):

  1. Malik R, Winsvold B, Auffenberg E, Dichgans M, Freilinger T. The migraine-stroke connection: A genetic perspective. Cephalalgia 2015; pii: 0333102415621055.
  2. Malik R, Freilinger T, [...]. Assessment of the shared genetic basis between ischemic stroke and migraine. Neurology 2015; 84(21):2132-45.
  3. Freilinger T, Schindler A, Schmidt C, Grimm J, Cyran C, Schwarz F, Bamberg F, Linn J, Reiser M, Yuan C, Nikolauou K, Dichgans M, Saam T. Significance of non-stenosing, complicated atherosclerotic plaques in cryptogenic stroke: a pilot study using high-resolution carotid MRI. J Am Coll Cardiol: Cardiovascular Imaging 2012; 5(4): 397-405.
  4. Freilinger T, Anttila V, de Vries B et al. Genome-wide association analysis identifies susceptibility loci for migraine without aura. Nat Genetics 2012; 44(7): 777-782.
  5. Chasman DI, Schuerks M, Anttila V, de Vries B, Schminke U, Launer LJ, Terwindt GM, van den Maagdenberg A, Fendrich K, Voelzke H, Ernst F, Griffiths LR, Buring JE, Kallela M, Freilinger T, Kubisch C, Ridker PM, Aarno Palotie A, Ferrari MD, Hoffmann W, Zee RYL, Kurth T. Genome-wide Association Study Reveals Three Susceptibility Loci for Common Migraine in the General Population. Nat Genet 2011; 43(7): 695-8.
  6. Anttila V, Stefansson H, Kallela M, Todt U, Terwindt GM, Calafato MS, Nyholt DR, Dimas AS, Freilinger T, Müller-Myhsok B et al. on behalf of the International Headache Genetics Consortium. Genome-wide association study of migraine implicates a common variant on 8q22.1 regulating the expression of astrocyte elevated gene-1 (AEG-1). Nat Genet 2010; 42(10): 869-73.
  7. Freilinger T, Bevan S, Ripke S, Gschwendtner A, Lichtner P, Müller-Myhsok B, Wichmann H.-E., Markus HS, Meitinger T, Dichgans M. Genetic Variation in the Lymphotoxin-Alpha Pathway and the Risk of Ischaemic Stroke in European Populations. Stroke 2009; 40(3): 970-2.
  8. de Vries B†, Freilinger T†, Vanmolkot KRJ, Koenderink JB, Stam AH, Terwindt GM, Babini E, van den Boogerd EH, Frants RR, Haan J, Pusch M, van den Maagdenberg AMJM, Ferrari MD, Dichgans M. Involvement of Genes for Familial Hemiplegic Migraine in Sporadic Patients with Hemiplegic Migraine: A Systematic Analysis of the CACNA1A, ATP1A2 and SCN1A Gene in 39 Patients. Neurology 2007; 69(23): 2170-6. † Both authors contributed equally.
  9. Dichgans M†, Freilinger T†, Eckstein G, Babini E, Lorenz-Depiereux B, Biskup S, Ferrari MD, Herzog J, van den Maagdenberg AM, Pusch M, Strom TM. Mutation in the neuronal voltage-gated sodium channel SCN1A in familial hemiplegic migraine. Lancet 2005; 366(9483): 371-7. † Both authors contributed equally.
  10. Jurkat-Rott K†, Freilinger T†, Dreier JP, Herzog J, Gobel H, Petzold GC, Montagna P, Gasser T, Lehmann-Horn F, Dichgans M. Variability of familial hemiplegic migraine with novel A1A2 Na+/K+-ATPase variants. Neurology 2004; 62(10): 1857-61. † Both authors contributed equally.