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Heermann Group

PD Dr. Stephan Heermann

Institute of Anatomy and Cell Biology

University of Freiburg

Albertstr. 17

79104 Freiburg

Tel: +49-761-5082



PD Dr. Heermann


Group members:

  • Stephan Heermann PD Dr. (PI)
  • Priska Eckert M.Sc. (PhD student)
  • Max Knickmeyer M.Sc. (PhD student)
  • Zahra Ghaderi Ardekani M.Sc. (PhD student)
  • Constance Frey (Doktorandin Zahnmedizin)
  • Desiree Freystein (Doktorandin Zahnmedizin)



Research Interests:

Molecular mechanisms regulating optic fissure closure

The optic fissure is a physiological gap in the ventral domain of the developing vertebrate eye. This gap is an important transport route for a specific period of time, during embryonic development. Importantly it must be closed as development proceeds. A failure of optic fissure closure with a remaining gap is referred to as coloboma. Although a gene coloboma network, consisting of many genes, was proposed, this network is still lacking effectors, mediating the fissure closure.

Interested students please get in touch with me...

Also we are open for collaborations. If you are working on a related topic, please feel free to get in touch with us.

informative links:



Publication records

Optic Fissure Margin Morphogenesis Sets The Stage For Consecutive Optic Fissure Fusion, Pioneered By A Distinct Subset Of Margin Cells Using A Hyaloid Vessel As Scaffold  Priska Eckert, Lucas Schuetz, Joachim Wittbrodt, Stephan Heermann BioRxiv. 2017 doi:

TGFβ-facilitated optic fissure fusion and the role of bone morphogenetic protein antagonism. Knickmeyer MD, Mateo JL, Eckert P, Roussa E, Rahhal B, Zuniga A, Krieglstein K, Wittbrodt J, Heermann S. Open Biol. 2018 Mar;8(3). pii: 170134. doi: 10.1098/rsob.170134.

[Neuroanatomy of the Visual Pathway]. Heermann S. Klin Monbl Augenheilkd. 2017 Nov;234(11):1327-1333. doi: 10.1055/s-0043-118101. Epub 2017 Nov 7. German.

[Neuroanatomy of the Oculomotor System]. Heermann S. Klin Monbl Augenheilkd. 2017 Nov;234(11):1334-1343. doi: 10.1055/s-0043-117741. Epub 2017 Sep 12. German.

Eye morphogenesis driven by epithelial flow into the optic cup facilitated by modulation of bone morphogenetic protein.
Heermann S, Schütz L, Lemke S, Krieglstein K, Wittbrodt J.
Elife. 2015 Feb 24;4. doi: 10.7554/eLife.05216.

Differential responsiveness of distinct retinal domains to Atoh7.
Sinn R, Peravali R, Heermann S*, Wittbrodt J.* (* shared correspondence)
Mech Dev. 2014 Aug 21. pii: S0925-4773(14)00038-0. doi: 10.1016/j.mod.2014.08.002.

Concerted interaction of TGF-β and GDNF mediates neuronal differentiation.
Zajzon K, Pröls F, Heermann S.
Neuroreport. 2013 Sep 11;24(13):704-11. doi: 10.1097/WNR.0b013e328363f75c.

Glia cell line-derived neurotrophic factor mediates survival of murine sympathetic precursors. Heermann S, Mätlik K, Hinz U, Fey J, Arumae U, Krieglstein K.
J Neurosci Res. 2013 Feb 21. doi: 10.1002/jnr.23188. [Epub ahead of print]

Analyzing murine schwann cell development along growing axons.
Heermann S, Krieglstein K.
J Vis Exp. 2012 Nov 21;(69). doi:pii: 50016. 10.3791/50016.

Molecular control of Schwann cell migration along peripheral axons: Keep moving! Heermann S, Schwab MH.
Cell Adh Migr. 2012 Oct 17;7(1).

An integrated encyclopedia of DNA elements in the human genome.
ENCODE Project Consortium, Bernstein BE, Birney E, Dunham I, Green ED, Gunter C, Snyder M.
Nature. 2012 Sep 6;489(7414):57-74. doi: 10.1038/nature11247.

Schwann cells migrate along axons in the absence of GDNF signaling.
Heermann S, Spittau B, Zajzon K, Schwab MH, Krieglstein K.
BMC Neurosci. 2012 Aug 3;13(1):92.

Neuregulin 1 Type III/ErbB Signaling Is Crucial for Schwann Cell Colonization of Sympathetic Axons.
Heermann S, Schmücker J, Hinz U, Rickmann M, Unterbarnscheidt T, Schwab MH, Krieglstein K.
PLoS One. 2011;6(12):e28692. Epub 2011 Dec 16.

  Microglia promote colonization of brain tissue by breast cancer cells in a Wnt-dependent way.
Pukrop T, Dehghani F, Chuang HN, Lohaus R, Bayanga K, Heermann S, Regen T, Van Rossum D, Klemm F, Schulz M, Siam L, Hoffmann A, Trümper L, Stadelmann C, Bechmann I, Hanisch UK, Binder C.
Glia. 2010 Sep;58(12):1477-89.

  Aged Tgfbeta2/Gdnf double-heterozygous mice show no morphological and functional alterations in the nigrostriatal system.
Heermann S, Opazo F, Falkenburger B, Krieglstein K, Spittau B.
J Neural Transm. 2010 Jun;117(6):719-27. Epub 2010 May 11.

  TGF-beta 1 enhances neurite outgrowth via regulation of proteasome function and EFABP.
Knöferle J, Ramljak S, Koch JC, Tönges L, Asif AR, Michel U, Wouters FS, Heermann S, Krieglstein K, Zerr I, Bähr M, Lingor P.
Neurobiol Dis. 2010 Jun;38(3):395-404. Epub 2010 Mar 6.

In vivo requirement of TGF-beta/GDNF cooperativity in mouse development: focus on the neurotrophic hypothesis.
Rahhal B*, Heermann S*, Ferdinand A, Rosenbusch J, Rickmann M, Krieglstein K. (* shared first author)
Int J Dev Neurosci. 2009 Feb;27(1):97-102. Epub 2008 Sep 6.

Transforming growth factor beta cooperates with persephin for dopaminergic phenotype induction.
Roussa E, Oehlke O, Rahhal B, Heermann S, Heidrich S, Wiehle M, Krieglstein K.
Stem Cells. 2008 Jul;26(7):1683-94. Epub 2008 Apr 17.

Accumulation and clearance of alpha-synuclein aggregates demonstrated by time-lapse imaging.
Opazo F, Krenz A, Heermann S, Schulz JB, Falkenburger BH.
J Neurochem. 2008 Jul;106(2):529-40. Epub 2008 Apr 10.

Presynaptic protein distribution and odour mapping in glomeruli of the olfactory bulb of Xenopus laevis tadpoles.
Manzini I, Heermann S, Czesnik D, Brase C, Schild D, Rössler W.
Eur J Neurosci. 2007 Aug;26(4):925-34. Epub 2007 Jul 30.

Organization of glomeruli in the main olfactory bulb of Xenopus laevis tadpoles.
Nezlin LP, Heermann S, Schild D, Rössler W.
J Comp Neurol. 2003 Sep 22;464(3):257-68.