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Jared Sterneckert Group

iPS Cells and Neurodegenerative Diseases

Portrait Jared Sterneckert


Industrialized nations face a formidable health threat: a rapid increase in patients suffering from neurodegenerative diseases. Among them, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is particularly devastating because patients suffer progressive paralysis and death due to the loss of motor neurons (MNs). Two hallmarks of ALS pathology are (1) degeneration tends to start at the distal axon and, subsequently, progress back to the soma (referred to as “dying-back”), and (2) MNs in ALS patients are often marked by cytoplasmic protein aggregates. Disease symptoms are so devastating that a fascinating observation is often obscured: in the absence of ALS, MN axons are highly regenerative – including in mammals! Interestingly, similar observations have been made about dopaminergic neuron axons in Parkinson’s disease, suggesting that regeneration plays a critical, but unappreciated, role in neurodegenerative diseases. We argue that this is very important because it suggests that neuronal function in patients can, indeed, be regenerated. Our group uses human induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells to understand how neurodegenerative diseases disrupt axon regenerative capacity. In addition, we seek to develop new strategies to protect neurons and promote renewal using therapeutic interventions such as antisense oligonucleotides, bait RNAs, and small molecules.

Jared Sterneckert Research: Figure
Figure shows iPS cell-derived MNs immunostained for SMI-32 (red) with counterstaining for nuclear DNA (green). Image is courtesy of Vadreenath Tripathy.

Future Projects and Goals

  • Understanding the role of membraneless compartments in axon regeneration and how neurodegenerative diseases alter these compartments, thereby disrupting their function and seeding protein aggregation
  • Understanding the role of the immune system in regulating axon regeneration, and how this is disrupted by disease pathology
  • Identifying therapeutic strategies (e.g., antisense oligonucleotides, bait RNAs, or small molecules) to promote axon regeneration

Methodological and Technical Expertise

  • Reprogramming to generate iPSC lines
  • Directed differentiation of iPSCs
  • Gene editing
  • Imaging, including live-cell imaging and FRAP
  • Virus-mediated gene expression/knockdown
  • Small molecule screening


since December 2021
Professor for iPS cells and neurodegenerative diseases, CRTD

since September 2014
Group Leader, CRTD

Project Group Leader, Max Planck Institute for Molecular Biomedicine (Münster, Germany)

Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Max Planck Institute for Molecular Biomedicine (Hans R. Schöler; Münster, Germany)

Ph.D. Johns Hopkins University (John D. Gearhart; Baltimore, MD, USA)

Selected Publications

Bellmann J, Goswami RY, Girardo S, Rein N, Hosseinzadeh Z, Hicks MR, Busskamp V, Pyle AD, Werner C, Sterneckert J
A customizable microfluidic platform for medium-throughput modeling of neuromuscular circuits.
Biomaterials 225:119537 (2019)

Marrone L, Drexler HCA, Wang J, Tripathi P, Distler T, Heisterkamp P, Maharana S, Anderson EN, Kour S, Bhatnagar R, Belgard TG, Tripathy V, Moraiti A, Crippa V, Poletti A, Troost D, Aronica E, Weis J, Pandey UB, Alberti S, Goswami A, Sterneckert J
FUS pathology in ALS is linked to alterations in multiple ALS-associated proteins and rescued by drugs stimulating autophagy.
Acta Neuropathologica 183(1): 67–84 (2019)

Marrone L, Poser I, Casci I, Japtok J, Reinhardt P, Janosch A, Andree C, Lee HO, Moebius C, Kroener E, Reinhardt L, Cicardi ME, Hackmann K, Klink B, Poletti A, Alberti S, Bickle M, Hermann A, Pandey U, Hyman AA, Sterneckert JL
Novel isogenic FUS-eGFP iPSC reporter lines enable quantification of FUS stress granule pathology that is rescued by drugs inducing autophagy.
Stem Cell Reports 10(2): 375-389 (2018)

Maharana S, Wang J, Papadopoulos DK, Richter D, Pozniakovsky A, Poser I, Bickle M, Rizk S, Guillén-Boixet J, Franzmann TM, Jahnel M, Marrone L, Chang YT, Sterneckert J, Tomancak P, Hyman AA, Alberti S.
RNA buffers the phase separation behavior of prion-like RNA binding proteins.
Science 360(6391): 918–921 (2018)

Reinhardt P, Schmid B, Burbulla LF, Schöndorf DC, Wagner L, Glatza M, Höing S, Hargus G, Heck SA, Dhingra A, Wu G, Müller S, Brockmann K, Kluba T, Maisel M, Krüger R, Berg D, Tsytsyura Y, Thiel CS, Psathaki OE, Klingauf J, Kuhlmann T, Klewin M, Müller H, Gasser T, Schöler HR, Sterneckert J
Genetic Correction of a LRRK2 Mutation in Human iPSCs Links Parkinsonian Neurodegeneration to ERK-Dependent Changes in Gene Expression.
Cell Stem Cell. 12(3):354–67 (2013)


Center for Regenerative Therapies Dresden
TU Dresden
Fetscherstraße 105
01307 Dresden