Research Group Dirnagl

Professor 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, QUEST founding director at the Berlin Institute of Health, director of the Center for Stroke Research Berlin, clinical program coordinator of the Excellence Cluster NeuroCure and the Berlin partner site of the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE), as well as program director of the International Graduate Program Medical Neuroscience.
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.

Gut microbiota impact on stroke outcome: Fad or fact?
Winek K, Meisel A, Dirnagl U.
J Cereb Blood Flow Metab. 2016 May;36(5):891-8. doi: 10.1177/0271678X16636890.

Where Have All the Rodents Gone? The Effects of Attrition in Experimental Research on Cancer and Stroke.
Holman C, Piper SK, Grittner U, Diamantaras AA, Kimmelman J, Siegerink B, Dirnagl U.
PLoS Biol. 2016 Jan 4;14(1):e1002331. doi: 10.1371/journal.pbio.1002331.

Medline link to full set of publications  


Most Important Project

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

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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