Cluster of Excellence –
University of Freiburg

Dr. Jan Pruszak

Dr. Jan Pruszak

Institute for Anatomy and Cell Biology
University of Freiburg

+49 761 203 5121

Our lab is interested in unraveling cell-contact- as well as diffusible factor-mediated  determinants of neural growth and lineage specification. To this end, we exploit human pluripotent stem cells (embryonic stem cells and induced pluripotent stem cells) as the chief model system, complemented with primary neural culture, tumor cell lines and transgenic mouse models.

While we have learned plenty about the gene regulatory networks underlying development, we are currently unable to direct stem cell development in vitro in a fully predictable manner. In particular, it remains unclear how precisely intercellular signaling contributes to the emergence of tissue morphogenesis, appropriate spatial arrangement and phenotype establishment. 

In consequence, we set out to elucidate the functional role and regulation of stage-specific combinatorial expression of neural surface molecules (e.g., integrins) and potential links to underlying density-dependent signaling pathways in human stem cell systems. Such insights will directly feed into continued efforts aimed at generating neural cells for biomedical applications in disease modeling and regeneration.

10 selected publications

  • iPSC-derived neurons from GBA1-associated Parkinson's disease patients show autophagic defects and impaired calcium homeostasis.
    Schöndorf DC, Aureli M, McAllister FE, Hindley CJ, Mayer F, Schmid B, Sardi SP, Valsecchi M, Hoffmann S, Schwarz LK, Hedrich U, Berg D, Shihabuddin LS, Hu J, Pruszak J, Gygi SP, Sonnino S, Gasser T, Deleidi M (2014).
    Nat Commun 5:4028.
  • A brief perspective on neural cell therapy.
    Pruszak J (2014).
    Mol Cell Ther 2:2.
  • Combined flow cytometric analysis of surface and intracellular antigens reveals surface molecule markers of human neuropoiesis.
    Turaç G, Hindley CJ, Thomas R, Davis JA, Deleidi M, Gasser T, Karaöz E, Pruszak J (2013).
    PLoS One 8:e68519.
  • Lessons from the embryonic neural stem cell niche for neural lineage differentiation of pluripotent stem cells.
    Solozobova V, Wyvekens N, Pruszak J (2012).
    Stem Cell Rev  8:813-829.
  • Yap1 acts downstream of ?-catenin to control epidermal proliferation.
    Schlegelmilch K, Mohseni M, Kirak O, Pruszak J, Rodriguez JR, Zhou D, Kreger BT, Vasioukhin V, Avruch J, Brummelkamp TR, Camargo FD (2011).
    Cell  144:782-795.
  • Generation of iPSCs from cultured human malignant cells.
    Carette JE, Pruszak J, Varadarajan M, Blomen VA, Gokhale S, Camargo FD, Wernig M, Jaenisch J, Brummelkamp TR (2010).
    Blood 115:4039-4042.
  • Wnt1-lmx1a forms a novel autoregulatory loop and controls midbrain dopaminergic differentiation synergistically with the SHH-FoxA2 pathway.
    Chung S, Leung A, Han BS, Chang MY, Moon JI, Kim CH, Hong S, Pruszak J, Isacson O, Kim KS (2009).
    Cell Stem Cell 5:646-658.
  • CD15, CD24 and CD29 define a surface biomarker code for neural lineage differentiation of stem cells.
    Pruszak J, Ludwig W, Blak A, Alavian K, Isacson O (2009).
    Stem Cells 27:2928-2940.
  • Neurons derived from reprogrammed fibroblasts functionally integrate into the fetal brain and improve symptoms of rats with Parkinson's disease.
    Wernig M, Zhao JP, Pruszak J, Hedlund E, Fu D, Soldner F, Broccoli V, Constantine-Paton M, Isacson O, Jaenisch R (2008).
    Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 105:5856-5861.
  • Markers and methods for cell sorting of human embryonic stem cell-derived neural cell populations.
    Pruszak J, Sonntag KC, Aung MH, Sanchez-Pernaute R, Isacson O (2007).
    Stem Cells 25:2257-2268.