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Field of Research
Schwannomas and neurofibromas, also known as peripheral nerve sheath tumours (PNST) are benign tumours that arise from the nerve sheath of peripheral nerves. PNST are commonly solitary tumours, but they may occur in multiple areas of the body in neurofibromatosis. Basic research includes genotype characterization of different phenotypes of the diseases. It has been shown that a novel third type of recurrent NF1 microdeletion is mediated by nonallelic homologous recombination between low-copy repeats in chromosome 17q.
Benign brain tumors such as the low-grade gliomas may have different clinical evolution and prognosis. Molecular markers have been newly described with the support of the database of the national glioma network program. Basic research on malignant brain tumours such as the glioblastomas, analyses the role of extracellular matrix and aquaporine on peritumoral edema formation. In addition, we have conducted in vitro and in vivo studies on hyperecin as an intraoperative tumour visualization and photodynamic therapy tool.
The auditory (cochlear) nerve has no capacity to recover spontaneously after injury. One of the reasons is simply the fact that it contains tissue from the central nervous system and myelination is given by oligodendrocytes. The cochlear nerve differs tremendously from other cranial nerves, i.e. the facial nerve, which contains peripheral nerve myelin from Schwann cells. Regeneration of injured cochlear nerve in adult rats was analysed following intrathecal application of antibodies against myelin-associated nerve growth inhibitor. Both morphological and electrophysiologial (auditory evoked potentials) investigations have shown some degree of regeneration, which had never been demonstrated.
The neuroprosthetics group of the Department of Neurosurgery implements invasive interfaces with the human brain in cases of disease to modulate pathological network activity and to decode ongoing oscillatory behaviour for communication and therapeutic purposes. In parallel to these approaches the group conducts electrophysiological and neuroimaging studies to implement adaptive neuromodulation based on a physiological understanding of cortical networks. To support research in this rapidly developing field a new Section on Translational Neurosurgery with a “W3” professorship was established in the Department of Neurosurgery.
With the introduction of a new intraoperative high field Magnetic resonance Imaging (iMRI), studies are being conducted to analyse intraoperative visualization of residual tumours: the role of perfusion-weighted imaging in a high-field intraoperative MR scanner. We are currently studying the results of high-grade glioma surgery in a high-field iMRI – with regard to improvement of the extent of resection. Preoperative and intraoperative multimodal brain mappings are achieved with the association of tools such as functional MRI studies, transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and intraoperative electrophysiology.
The role of the cerebellum in biological motion processing has been studied with fMRI examinations. It was shown that the cerebellum plays an important role in cognitive processes and motion processing, and that it communicates with right superior temporal gyrus.