Translational Neuroscience


Prof. Dr. Ralf-Ingo Ernestus

Research focus

The Department of Neurosurgery belongs to the Wuerzburg Head- and Neck-Clinic and, based on its interdisciplinary context, provides comprehensive diagnostics and therapy for patients with tumors of the brain, spine, spinal cord and peripheral nerves, degenerative spine and disc disease, pain syndromes, peripheral nerve lesions, pituitary tumors and dysfunction, neurovascular disease, skull base tumors (jointly with department of ORL), movement disorders (jointly with Department of Neurology), psychiatric disorders (jointly with the Departments of Psychiatry and Neurology).

Infants and children with inborn malformations of the nervous system and of the skull and spine, with neoplasia and trauma are taken care of by the Division of Pediatric Neurosurgery. Special interdisciplinary treatment protocols have been established for patients with vascular malformations (in close cooperation with the Department of Neuroradiology), furthermore for patients with brain tumors together with radiotherapists and neurooncologists as well as for skull base lesions, namely vestibular schwannomas and meningiomas with ORL surgeons.

Clinical and experimental research is performed together with the Division of Experimental Neurosurgery and a multitude of cooperating clinics and institutes of the university and with external German and international institutes. Major topics of research are: Neuro-oncology, rare genetic diseases such as neurofibromatosis, functional microsurgery and neurostimulation, neurovascular disease, translational neurotrauma research, neurodegeneration and -regeneration, and craniofacial malformations. 

contact: ernestus_r@ukw.de

Prof. Dr. Cordula Matthies


Research focus

Research focus is on preservation, modulation and reconstruction of neurological functions.

Preservation of endangered nerve functions by microsurgery is accompanied by specialized multi-modality neurophysiological monitoring of cranial nerves and of eloquent brain areas. This applies specifically to tumors of the nervous system, namely benign nerve tumors and genetic disorders, such as Neurofibromatosis. In this field, a special research center with interdisciplinary scientists from neurology, neuroradiology, anesthesiology, psychology, neurosurgery and neurobiology has been founded and is supported by a German Research Council Grant (DFG 2020-2024). Further special clinical studies are undertaken to optimize medication and quality of life for these tumor patients.

Modulation of disturbed neurological functions is achieved by deep brain stimulation (DBS) including neurophysiological mapping addressing motor circuit dysfunctions such as tremor, Parkinson’s disease and dystonia, and neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s dementias. Numerous clinical and experimental studies are run by the interdisciplinary DBS team of Neurology and Neurosurgery, part of which are supported by the Collaborative Research Centre TRR 295, a joint research project with the Charité, Berlin, funded by the German Research Council (DFG 2020-2024).

Reconstruction of function is performed by nerve sutures, transplantation or bio-electronic implants at the brainstem. A current study investigates the feasibility and usefulness of auditory brainstem implants in small children with inborn pre-lingual deafness.

contact: matthies_c@ukw.de

Prof. Dr. Anna-Leena Sirén


Research focus

Our research focus is on neuroplasticity after central nervous system injury. Especially we are interested in posttraumatic inflammation and presynaptic structural plasticity and their impact on functional impairments in chronic traumatic brain injury. We use cell culture, transgenic animals, brain trauma models, behavioural testing, neuroimaging and microscopic techniques for identification of synaptic and inflammatory pathology. 

contact: siren_a@ukw.de

Dr. Stefan Rückriegel

contact: rueckriege_s@ukw.de