Research Group

In-vivo-NMR  Head:  Prof. Dr. Mathias Hoehn

Regeneration of cerebral lesions

Our research interest focuses on regeneration of cerebral lesions, in particular stroke. We pursue the goal of regeneration through implantation of embryonic stem cells and thereby explore their therapeutic potential. The following aspects are in the center of our attention: 

  • A better understanding of the MRI based characterization of ischemic brain lesion in its chronic development, as a basis for a therapeutic evaluation of treatment with stem cells.
  • In this context we investigate inflammatory macrophage activity after stroke
  • To assess therapeutic success, we establish and validate parameters for outcome improvement: on the one hand, therapy based progress is assessed with behavior tests. On the other hand, using fMRI we unravel mechanisms by distinguishing between recovery of originally damaged tissue areas and plastic reorganization.


Methodologically, our investigations rely heavily on in vivo MRI data, complemented by optical imaging, and invasive histological and immunohistochemical staining techniques. Physiological and electrophysiological monitoring are an integral part of our protocols. An increasing number of studies includes molecular biological techniques: transgenic cells are generated with modified functions or cells are generated  which produce their own reporters for in vivo imaging, both MRI and optical imaging.

Research topics in detail:                              

Chronic lesion development

Inflammatory activity

fMRI investigations after cerebral lesions

Monitoring of stem cell dynamics

Recent, new activities

  • In vivo description of functional cell status
  • Functional brain activation after stroke
  • New therapy strategies in neurooncology

May 22, 2014 

Markus Aswendt receives DFG grant for molecular imaging of neural stem cell fate

The German Science Foundation (DFG) approved a 3 year funding of a unique approach: the non-invasive targeting of neural stem cell fate by optical imaging. Specific fluorescence and bioluminescence imaging reporters will be used to discriminate undifferentiated from differentiated cells in vivo. Markus Aswendt is working as a postdoctoral fellow in the In-vivo-NMR group of Prof. Mathias Hoehn and gets the chance to pursue independent research building on experiments during his PhD. This project will combine with high-field magnetic resonance imaging expertise to provide structural and functional tracking of the in vivo stem cell fate – an essential step towards stem cell therapy.  


European Journal of Neuroscience (2011). Vol 34(3), 382-393.

Please click for abstract

"Spatio-temporal dynamics, differentiation and viability of
human neural stem cells after implantation into neonatal
rat brain"
Therese Kallur, Tracy D. Farr, Philipp Böhm-Sturm, Zaal Kokaia and Mathias Hoehn


ESMI Poster Award 2011

With his poster on "Effect of anesthesia on functional connectivity networks of the rat brainDaniel Kalthoff convinced the ESMI-Jury and got one of ten awards assigned to outstanding junior researchers. Nearly 200 posters were presented at the EMIM conference. 



more on EMIM conference 2011