Research Group Dirnagl

Prof. Ulrich Dirnagl, M.D.
Charité & Berlin Institute for Health
Director Department of Experimental Neurology
Founding Director QUEST - Center for Transforming Biomedical Research


The research of Ulrich Dirnagl is focused on stroke, cerebral blood flow regulation, and brain imaging. In preclinical models as well as clinical trials he and his coworkers and collaborators explore mechanisms by which brain ischemia leads to cell death, and develops novel methods to intercept mechanisms of damage in acute brain damage, as well as to foster regeneration and repair of the lesions. He is particulary interested in how the brain protects itself (endogenous neuroprotection), and how the brain interacts with other systems of the body after it has been injured.
Closely linked to his interest in stroke pathophysiology is his interest in the coupling of regional blood flow to neuronal acitivity, the mechanism underlying functional brain imaging with MR and PET. Beyond imaging structure and function of the CNS he and his team are developing, validating and using techniques that allow the non-invasive imaging of brain biochemistry and molecular signaling. To this end they use optical, MR, and nuclear medicine approaches in mouse and man.
To improve the predictiveness of preclinical translational research he is actively promoting the introduction of quality standards for experimental design and reporting, as well as international collaboration in large, phase III-type preclinical trials.
More information

Ulrich Dirnagl serves as director of the Department of Experimental Neurology at the Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin and QUEST founding director at the Berlin Institute of Health.
List of Publications / Charité Research Data Base

Selected Publications

Thomas Willis Lecture: Is Translational Stroke Research Broken, and if So, How Can We Fix It?
Dirnagl U.
Stroke. 2016 Aug;47(8):2148-53. doi: 10.1161/STROKEAHA.116.013244.

Increasing efficiency of preclinical research by group sequential designs.
Neumann K, Grittner U, Piper SK, Rex A, Florez-Vargas O, Karystianis G, Schneider A, Wellwood I, Siegerink B, Ioannidis JP, Kimmelman J, Dirnagl U.
PLoS Biol. 2017 Mar 10;15(3):e2001307. doi: 10.1371/journal.pbio.2001307. eCollection 2017 Mar.
PMID: 28282371

The bench is closer to the bedside than we think: Uncovering the ethical ties between preclinical researchers in translational neuroscience and patients in clinical trials.
Yarborough M, Bredenoord A, D'Abramo F, Joyce NC, Kimmelman J, Ogbogu U, Sena E, Strech D, Dirnagl U.
PLoS Biol. 2018 Jun 6;16(6):e2006343. doi: 10.1371/journal.pbio.2006343. eCollection 2018 Jun.
PMID: 29874243

Medline link to full set of publications


Most Important Projects

Prevent complications

Brain Gut Interaction

This project explores the following hypotheses

  • Stroke changes the gut microbiome
  • The gut microbiome affects outcome after stroke
  • Gut microbiome impacts on outcome after CNS lesion via a) effects on the immune system, including costimulation by bacterial products; b) direct humoral/metabolic signaling; and c) effects on enteral nervous system.

More information/project description

Protect brain


Structured quality assurance from and for academic preclinical biomedicine - establishment and proof of concept.
More information/project description

Research Fields

  • Physiology and pathophysiology of cerebral blood flow and metabolism
  • Cerebral ischemia and endogenous neuroprotection
  • Brain inflammation and brain-immune interaction
  • Interaction of brain and body after stroke (metabolism, gut microbiome, etc.)
  • Brain imaging (Optical, MR, nuclear medicine)
  • Systematic reviews, biostatistics, and quality control in experimental medicine

Science Blog (en)

Uli Dirnagl's science blog covers topics related to his research, with a special focus on biostatistics, translational research, publishing, and quality aspects of the biomedical research enterprise.

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