TU Dresden


Mechanisms of Induced Plasticity of the Brain - Caghan Kizil

Our goal is to learn from zebrafish how to enable the adult brain to better cope with neurodegenerative disease and regenerate. The main motivation of our research group is to understand the molecular programs for zebrafish brain to induce regenerative stem cell plasticity. The brains of aging humans are prone to neurodegenerative disorders and we are unable to counteract neuronal loss by regenerating lost cells. Patients with neurodegenerative conditions progressively loose neurons yet cannot form new neurons that would replace the lost ones – namely, we humans lack the proper “plasticity response”. We are using zebrafish as a model organism that can regenerate its brain effectively. We try to learn from fish the molecular programs underlying such an aptitude, and developing innovative tools for comparative studies in mammalian brains.

Previous and current research

Our main goals are

  • To generate neurodegeneration in vivo and in vitro especially using Amyloid-beta-42 (Aβ42) toxicity.
  • To learn from zebrafish how to enable the adult brains to better cope with neurodegenerative disease and regenerate
  • To identify the molecular mechanisms of neural stem cell plasticity in adult zebrafish brain after various types of tissue damage or physiological stimulations


Future projects and goals

We use zebrafish as a model organism to model chronic neurodegenerative conditions. We investigate whether:

  • zebrafish can circumvent chronic neurodegeneration by producing more neurons;
  • zebrafish neural stem cells turn on special molecular programs that are necessary for such a plasticity response upon neurodegeneration;


Group leader

Selected publications

Kizil C, Kyritsis N, Dudczig S, Kroehne V, Freudenreich F, Kaslin J, Brand M. (2012) Regenerative neurogenesis from neural progenitor cells requires injury-induced expression of Gata3. Developmental Cell 23(6): 1230-1237.

Kyritsis N, Kizil C, Kroehne V, Zocher S, Kaslin J, Freudenreich D, Iltzsche A, Brand M. (2012) Acute inflammation initiates the regenerative response in the adult zebrafish brain. Science 338: 1353-1356.

Bhattarai P, Thomas AK, Cosacak MI, Papadimitriou C, Mashkaryan V, Froc C, Reinhardt S, Kurth T, Dahl A, Zhang Y, Kizil C. (2016) IL4/STAT6 activates neural stem cells in response to Amyloid-b42 aggregation in adult zebrafish brain. Cell Reports, 17(4): 941-948

Tincer, G., Mashkaryan, V., Bhattarai, P., Kizil, C. (2016). Neural stem/progenitor cells in Alzheimer’s disease. The Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine, 89(1), 23–35.

Kizil C, Kyritsis N, Brand M. (2015) Effects of inflammation on stem cells: together they strive? EMBO Reports 16(4):416-26.


Group Leader

Dr. Caghan Kizil

Assistant to Group Leader

Klaudia Szostak
Phone: +49 (0)351 458 82305