Meet the new ZNZ Group Leaders

We are proud to welcome our new members. Read on to learn about the research expertise they contribute to our community.

Prof. Alexis Hervais-Adelman
Institute of Psychology, UZH

Alexis Hervais-Adelman is SNF assistant professor and head of the Neurolinguistics Division at the Institute of Psychology. His research uses several approaches to elucidate the brain networks of language, and interventions that might serve to train and improve them. His team deploys multiple neuroimaging and behavioral methods to investigate the brain networks of extreme language – be it the perception of acoustically challenging speech, or the challenges posed by multilingualism. More

Dr. Petra Schweinhardt, MD/PhD
Department of Chiropractic Medicine, University of Zurich, Balgrist Campus

Albeit nociception and pain are closely linked, there is no one-to-one relationship because the central nervous system hugely modulates nociceptive processing in a facilitatory as well as an inhibitory way. Our research focuses on how the CNS, in particular the brain, modulates nociception and how an altered balance between facilitation and inhibition contributes to chronic pain in patients. We use brain imaging methods (magnetic resonance imaging and spectroscopy) and psychophysical techniques to understand cerebral processes resulting in augmented nociceptive processing. More

Dr. Daniela Noain
Department of Neurology, University Hospital Zurich

What restorative and neuroprotective processes unfold in the sleeping brain? Is slow-wave sleep a key player to their regulation and execution? And, therefore, could slow-wave sleep modulation be used to influence the course of neuropathological processes? The focus of our research is exploring the role of slow-wave sleep in the levels of brain proteins that lead to neurodegeneration. Aiming at implementing slow-wave sleep modulation strategies in transgenic rodent models of disease, we develop innovative techniques, such as closed-loop acoustic stimulation of slow oscillations. More (see also Sleep against neurodegeneration? ZNZ News, April 2017)

Prof. Robert Steinfeld
Dept. of Pediatric Neurology, Children’s University Hospital Zurich

 Robert Steinfeld is the head of the Dept. of Pediatric Neurology. His clinical research focuses on folate (vitamin B9) transport to the developing human brain. A rare genetic mutation apparently disrupts the transport such that the brain is not provided with the important vitamin. This leads to severe cognitive decline, motor impairment and often epileptic seizures. Robert Steinfeld and his colleagues are developing a new therapy providing an alternative folate transport mechanism. More

Dr. Christian Tackenberg
Institute for Regenerative Medicine, UZH

 Our research aims at elucidating the potential of stem cells, especially induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), for the use in regenerative medicine and for modeling human diseases. Due to their pluripotent nature, iPSCs can be differentiated into many cell types. Currently, we are modeling sporadic Alzheimer’s disease (SAD), which is the most common age-related dementia. Using either SAD patient-derived iPSCs or isogenic cells that differ only in their SAD risk genes, we analyze disease-relevant pathomechanisms in differentiated cortical neurons and astrocytes. More