Martin Schwab

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Brain Research Institute, University of Zurich, Switzerland
Dept. of Health Sciences and technology, Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) Zurich, Switzerland

Contact:; ++41 44 635 33 30 (direct)

Clinical and Translational Neuroscience

Title of the talk:
Nerve fiber regeneration, new circuit formation and functional recovery after spinal cord and brain injury



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Education and Training

University of Basel, Switzerland Diploma (MSc) 1972 Zoology/Botany/Chemistry
University of Basel, Switzerland PhD 1973 Zoology
University of Basel, Switzerland PD (Privat Dozent) 1978 Cell Biology
Research and Professional Experience
Since 2012 Professor of Neuroscience, Dept. Health Science and Technology, Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) Zurich, CH
2001-2013 Director, National Center of Competence in Research (NCCR) “Neural Plasticity and Repair”, Zurich, CH; Managing Director 2006-2013
1998-2010 Founder and Chairman, Neuroscience Center Zurich, CH
Since 1997 Joint appointment as Professor of Neuroscience, Dept. of Biology, Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) Zurich, CH
1985- Professor, Brain Research Institute, University of Zurich, CH, Director and Co-Director 1985-2014
1979 – 1985 Group Leader, Dept. Neurochemistry, Max Planck-Inst. for Psychiatry, Martinsried, Munich, D
1978 – 1979 Research Fellow, Dept. Neurobiology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Mass., USA
1974 – 1978 Research Associate (Postdoc), Dept. of Pharmacology (Prof. H. Thoenen), Biocenter of the University of Basel, CH


Publications, Citation Report ISI Web of Knowledge (11.9.2014)

Number of original publications 403
sum of times cited: 26901
Average citations per item: 66.75
h-index: 83
Granted Patents
7 granted
Clinical Trials
In Preparation ATI355 Phase 2 for Spinal Cord Injury, ATI355 for Multiple Sclerosis and Stroke with in collaboration with Novartis Basel


Honours and Awards

2012 ERC Advanced Grant
2011 Paul Broca Lecture, French Neuroscience Society, Marseille
2009 Eli Lilly Neuroscience Lecture, University of Montreal
2007 Betty and David Koetser Prize
2007 Jan Swammerdam Lecture, Amsterdam, Netherlands
2006 Grass Lecture of the Society of Neuroscience, Louisville, KY, USA
2005 Alex-F. Muller Lecture of the University of Geneva, Switzerland
2005 Prix Mondial Nessim Habif of the University of Geneva, Switzerland
2004 The 4th MSD-Cambridge Neurology Lecture, Cambridge, UK
2004 Raths Steiger Lecture of the ETH Zurich, Switzerland
2003 James C. White Lecture, Mass. General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
2002 Klaus Joachim Zülch Prize of the Gertrud Reemtsma Foundation and the Max-Planck-Society, Cologne, D
2002 Segerfalk Award Lecture, Lund, Sweden
2002 Carus-Prize of the City of Schweinfurt, Germany


Current Editorial Activities

Editorial boards: Brain, Glia, Neurobiology of Disease, Journal of Neurorehabilitation and Neural Repair, Experimental Neurology
Ad hoc reviewer: Nature, Nature Neuroscience, Nature Medicine, Neuron, PNAS, Journal of Neuroscience


Peer-reviewed 5 selected articles (2013-2014, most recent first)

(full list available here:

Wahl AS, Omlor W, Rubio JC, Chen JL, Zheng H, Schröter A, Gullo M, Weinmann O, Kobayashi K, Helmchen F, Ommer B, Schwab ME (2014). Neuronal repair. Asynchronous therapy restores motor control by rewiring of the rat corticospinal tract after stroke. Science 13;344 (6189):1250-5.
Bachmann LC, Lindau NT, Felder P, Schwab ME (2014). Sprouting of Brainstem-Spinal Tracts in Response to Unilateral Motor Cortex in Mice. The Journal of Neuroscience 34(9):3378-3389
Kempf A, Tews B, Arzt ME, Weinmann O, Obermair FJ, Pernet V, Zagrebelsky M, delekate A, Iobbi C, Zemmar A, Ristic Z, Gullo M, Spies P, Dodd D, Gygax D, Korte M, Schwab ME (2014). The Sphingolipid receptor S1PR2 is a Receptor for Nogo-A Repressing Synaptic Plasticity. PLOS Biology (12)1:e1001763
Lindau NT, Bänninger BJ, Gullo M, Good NA, Bachmann LC, Starkey ML, Schwab ME (2013). Rewiring of the corticospinal tract in the adult rat after unilateral stroke and anti-Nogo-A therapy. Brain:137,739-756
Bachmann LC, Matis A, Lindau NT, Felder P, Gullo M, Schwab ME (2013). Deep brain stimulation of the midbrain locomotor region improves paretic hindlimb function after spinal cord injury in rats. Sci Transl Med. 5(208):208


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Martin Schwab’s expertise is in developmental neurobiology and mechanisms of plasticity and repair of the brain and spinal cord. In 1985 he postulated the concept of “inhibitors of neurite growth” as a cause of the absent regeneration of injured fiber tracts in the central nervous system. Subsequently, his team isolated the first and one of the most potent nerve fiber growth inhibitors in the adult CNS, Nogo-A. When this component was blocked, regeneration and functional repair could be shown for the first time in adult rats and monkeys after spinal cord injury. Cell biological studies on the mechanism of action of Nogo-A and its functional role in the developing and adult CNS are a focus of his current work, in parallel to studies on brain and spinal cord repair and currently on-going clinical trials testing the effects of anti-Nogo-A antibodies in spinal cord injured patients and in multiple sclerosis.


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