Frank Edenhofer, PhD, Professor

Institute of Molecular Biology, University of Innsbruck, Austria

I. The research group

The group of Prof. Dr. Frank Edenhofer is a motivated team of three post-doc fellows, one PhD student, one technician, and three students, which are forming the relatively new Department of Genomics, Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine at the Leopold-Franzens University of Innsbruck in Austria.

Conventional cell culture and animal models of many neurodegenerative disorders are not sufficient to recapitulate pathogenic mechanisms found in humans, therefore new advanced cell culture models using patient derived cells are needed. The lab of Prof. Frank Edenhofer investigates the derivation of diverse pluri- and multipotent cell lines through different approaches, such as reprogramming fibroblasts to induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) or direct conversion of fibroblasts to induced neural stem cells (iNSCs). These cells are used to model neurodegenerative disorders, such as Alzheimer’s disease (AD), Parkinson disease, and diverse psychiatric disorders, in 2D adherent cultures and novel 3D culture models. These models will help to delineate affected cells, disease relevant pathways and potential drug targets for novel therapeutic approaches.

II. Participation in the MADGIC project

Our group is involved in the derivation of diverse types of neurons and astrocytes to model Alzheimer’s disease in vitro. As the leader of WP1 (“Generation and thorough validation of new advanced in vitro and in vivo models of AD”) Prof. Edenhofers group differentiate patient derived stem cells into NSCs and directly convert patient fibroblasts into iNSCs (WP1 Task 1.1). These cells are used in conventional adherent cell culture models to obtain cortical neurons and neural networks (WP Task 1.2), and in cortical 3D culture models (WP1 Task 1.3) to purify affected neurons and to spot disease relevant pathways and reveal new therapeutic targets

III. Key publications relevant for the project

1. Günther, K., et al., Edenhofer F. Rapid monolayer neural induction of induced pluripotent stem cells yields stably proliferating neural stem cells. J Stem Cell Res Ther. (2016) 6:341. doi: 10.4172/2157-7633.1000341

2. Meye, S., et al., Edenhofer F. Derivation of adult human fibroblasts and their direct conversion into expandable neural progenitor cells. J Vis Exp. (2015) 101:e52831. doi: 10.3791/52831.

3. Mohr, M., Tosun, S., Arnold, W. H., Edenhofer, F., Zänker, K. S., & Dittmar, T. Quantification of cell fusion events human breast cancer cells and breast epithelial cells using a Cre-LoxP-based double fluorescence reporter system. Cell Mol Life Sci. (2015) 72(19):3769-82. doi:10.1007/s00018-015-1910-6.

4. Kadari, A, et al. & Edenhofer, F. Excision of viral reprogramming cassettes by Cre protein transduction enables rapid, robust and efficient derivation of transgene-free human iPS cells. Stem Cell Res Ther. (2014) Apr 8;5(2):47. doi: 10.1186/scrt435.

5. Thier, M, et al., O. Brüstle & Edenhofer F. Direct conversion of fibroblasts into tripotent neural stem cells. Cell Stem Cell. (2012) 10: 473–479.

6. Haupt, S., Borghese L., Brüstle, O. & Edenhofer F. Non-Genetic Modulation of Notch Activity by Artificial Delivery of Notch Intracellular Domain into Neural Stem Cells. Stem Cell Rev. (2012) 8(3):672-84.

7. Nolden, L., Edenhofer F., et al., & Brüstle O. Site specific recombination in human ES cells induced by cell permeable Cre recombinase. Nature Methods (2006) 3: 461-467.