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Klaus Unsicker Profile Page
Klaus Unsicker


Lab: Prof. Dr. Klaus Unsicker
Department: Department of Molecular Embryology
Institute of Anatomy and Cell Biology
Address: Albertstr.17
79104 Freiburg
Phone: +49 761 203 5193
E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Lab homepage:
PhD positions available: NO
Research Area: Developmental Biology
Research Interests: Neuron survival and death


Education & Training: Academic & Medical Education:
1961 - 1968 Medical School (Bonn, Munich, Kiel); MD in histology, Anatomy/Univ. Kiel
1969 Residencies in Surgery, Internal Medicine, and Anatomy

Postdoctoral Training:
1970 - 1975 Postdoctoral fellow with
W. Bargmann, Kiel; C. Owman/A. Björklund, Lund; G. Burnstock, Melbourne & UC London
1973/2 Habilitation, University of Kiel
Employment & Experience: Advanced Professional Degrees and Positions:
1976 - 1977 Associate professor ; Anatomy, Univ. Kiel
1978 - 1992 Full professor and director, Anatomy & Cell Biology, Univ. Marburg
1992 - 2009 Full professor and director, Anatomy & Cell Biology, Univ. Heidelberg
2000 - 2004 Director, Interdisciplinary Center for Neurosciences, Univ. Heidelberg
2009 - Guest Professor, Medical Faculty, University of Freiburg

1977 Offer for full professorship at LMU Munich, declined
1980 Offer for full professorship at Univ. Melbourne, declined
1992 Offer for full professorship at Univ. Graz, declined

1983/7 – 1984/4 Visiting scientist, Dept. Biol., Univ. California at San Diego
1989/7 – 1990/4 Visiting professor, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratories and Lab. Chemoprevention, NCI, NIH, Bethesda
2006/2-9 Visiting professor, Institute of Biotechnology, Univ. Helsinki
Scientific Activities: Selected Coordinating Functions:
1994 – 1995 President Anatomische Gesellschaft (Anatomical Society)
1992 – 1996 Scientific Advisory Council GdNÄ
1995 – 1999 Member DFG SFB Committee
1998 – 2000 President International Society for Developmental Neuroscience
1998 – 2006 Speaker DFG collaborative research group “Central aminergic systems”
1999 – 2007 Speaker SFB 488 “Molecular and cellular bases of neural development”
2001 – 2007 Founding member BIOQUANT network and Rektoratskommission
2004 – 2009 Section-/Vice-Speaker SFB 636 “Learning and memory”
2004 – now Chairman, DFG Neuroscience Panel
2003 – 2009 Coordinator partnership Hebrew Univ. Jerusalem – Univ. Heidelberg
2005 – 2006 Rapporteur, evaluation of Max-Planck neuroscience institutes (Seewiesen/Andechs, Martinsried, Göttingen)
2009/2010 President, Evaluation Committee for Biology at ETH Zürich
1980 – now multiple Editorial Boards, incl. Editor-in-chief Cell & Tiss. Res. (since 1995)


Honors and Awards:

1981                Research Medal of the University of Helsinki
1987                Australian-European Award
1992                German Academy Leopoldina
1997                Jan Swammerdan Lecture Amsterdam
1997                Max-Planck Research Award
2001                Aschoff Medal, Medical Faculty/Univ. Freiburg
2003                Honorary doctorate, Univ. Marburg
2007                Honorary member Romanian Society for Cell Biology


Selected Publications:

Strelau, J., Strzelczyk, A.P., Rusu, P., Bendner, G., Wiese, S., Diella, F., Altick, A.L., von Bartheld, C.S., Klein, R., Sendtner, M., Unsicker, K. 2009. Progressive postnatal motoneuron loss in mice lacking GDF-15.    J. Neuroscience 29: 13640-13648 Abstract

Sheroziya, M., von Bohlen und Halbach, O., Unsicker, K., Egorov, A. (2009) Spontaneous bursting activity in the developing entorhinal cortex. J. Neuroscience 29: 12131-12144 Abstract

*Parlato, R., Otto, C., Tuckermann, J., Stotz, S., Kaden, S., Gröne, H.J., Unsicker, K., Schütz, G. 2009. Conditional inactivation of glucocorticoid receptor gene in dopamine-beta-hydroxylase cells impairs chromaffin cell survival. Endocrinology 150: 1775-1781. Abstract

Bohlen und Halbach, O.v., Krause, S., Medina, D., Sciaretta, C., Minichiello, L, Unsicker, K. 2006. Regional- and age-dependent reduction in trkB receptor expression in the hippocampus is associated with altered spine morphologies. Biol. Psychiatry 59: 793-800. Abstract

*Oberle, S., A. Schober, V. Meyer, B. Holtmann, C: Henderson, M. Sendtner, K. Unsicker. 2006. Loss of leukemia inhibitory factor receptor ß or cardiotrophin-1 causes similar deficits in preganglionic sympathetic neurons and adrenal medulla. J. Neuroscience 26: 1823-1832. Abstract

Subramaniam S., N. Shahani, J. Strelau, C. Laliberté, R. Brandt, D. Kaplan, K. Unsicker.  2005. Insulin-like growth factor 1 inhibits extracellular signal-regulated kinase to promote neuronal survival via the Phosphatidylinositol-3 kinase/Protein kinas-A/c-Raf pathway. J. Neuroscience 25: 2838-2852. Abstract

*Gut, P., K. Huber, J. Lohr, B. Brühl, S. Oberle, M. Treier, U. Ernsberger, C. Kalcheim, K. Unsicker. 2005. Lack of an adrenal cortex in Sf1 mutant mice is compatible with the generation and differentiation of chromaffin cells. Development 132: 4611-4619. Abstract

Bohlen und Halbach, O.v., Minichiello, L., Unsicker, K. 2005. Haploinsufficiency for trkB and trkC receptors induces cell loss and accumulation of alpha-synuclein in the substantia nigra. FASEB J. 19: 1740-1742. see online article of July 21, 2005: 10.1096/fj.o5-3845fje. Abstract

Subramaniam S., U. Zirrgiebel, O. von Bohlen und Halbach, J. Strelau, C. Laliberté, D.R. Kaplan, K. Unsicker. 2004. ERK activation promotes neuronal degeneration predominantly through plasma membrane damage and independently of caspase-3. J. Cell Biol. 165: 357-369. See also Commentary by Cheung and Slack in Science STK2004, pe45. Abstract

Medina, D.L., Sciaretta, C., Calella, A.M., von Bohlen und Halbach, O., Unsicker, K., Minichiello, L. 2004. TrkB regulates neocortex formation through the Shc/PLC-mediated control of neuronal migration. EMBO J. 29: 3803-3814. Abstract

SGBM PhD students

SGBM PhD students:


Track 1:
Venissa Machado (05/2011 - 07/2015)

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