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Principal Investigators
Career Opportunities
Prof. Dr. André Brändli
We study the development and cellular differentiation of the vertebrate kidney and the vasculature system with the aim of translating our findings into the development of novel therapeutic strategies to treat renal and vascular diseases. Furthermore, we are applying traditional morpholino knockdown strategies as well as state-of-the-art genome editing technologies (TALENs, CRISPR/Cas) to engineer non-mammalian models of rare human inherited diseases for which no cures are currently available. We use Xenopus embryos and tadpoles as our primary animal model, since gene functions and disease mechanisms can be rapidly assessed using various gain- and loss-of-function approaches. In addition, Xenopus embryos are small enough to be employed for large-scale phenotypic drug discovery screening and toxicity testing in multi-well dishes. To date, we have established Xenopus models of alkaptonuria (affected gene: hgd) and autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease 2 (pkd2) and models rare vascular diseases are in development. In the past years, the laboratory has discovered novel regulators of angiogenesis and nephrogenesis, elucidated the segmental organization of the embryonic Xenopus nephrons, developed Xenopus-based test procedures to assess drug-induced ototoxity, and established in vivo drug discovery methodologies leading to the identification of novel anti-angiogenic drug candidates.

Members of the Brändli Team: 

Vanessa Eichel

Lab Technicians:
Sabine D'Avis

Recent publications:

Motamedi F, Badro DA, Clarkson M, Lecca MR, Bradford ST, Buske FA, Saar K, Hübner N, Brändli AW, Schedl A. WT1 controls antagonistic FGF and BMP-pSMAD pathways in early renal progenitors. Nat Commun 2014; in press

Dietzel S, Pircher J, Nekolla AK, Gull M, Brändli AW, Pohl U, Rehberg M. Label-free determination of hemodynamic parameters in the microcirculation with third harmonic generation microscopy. PLoS One 2014 Jun 16; 9(6):e99615

Schmitt SM, Gull M, Brändli AW. Engineering Xenopus embryos for phenotypic drug discovery screening. Adv Drug Delivery Rev 2014; 69-70:225-246.

Goetz B, Benhaqi P, Glatzle J, Müller MH, Schmitt SM, Brändli AW, Kreis ME, Kasparek MS. Changes in peptidergic neurotransmission during postoperative ileus in rat circular jejunal muscle. Neurogastroenterol Motil 2014; 26:397-403.

Sauert K, Kahnert S, Roose M, Gull M, Brändli AW, Ryffel GU, Waldner C. Heat-shock mediated overexpression of HNF1ß mutations has differential effects on gene expression in the Xenopus pronephric kidney. PLoS One 2012; 7:e33522.

Marino D, Dabouras V, Brandli AW, Detmar M. A role for all-trans-retinoic Acid in the early steps of lymphatic vasculature development. J Vasc Res 2011;48(3):236-51.

Herdeis.L., Bernet.B., Augustine.A.., Kälin.R.E., Brändli.A.W., Vasella.A. Oligonucleotide analogues with intergrated bases and backbone - Part 27: Synthesis and association of thiomethylene-linked cytidine-derived dinucleosides and tetranucleosides. Helv Chim Acta 2011;94:545-77.

Brändli.A.W. Neue Erkenntnisse zu den molekularen Mechanismen, die die Segmentbildung bei Nephronen der Wirbeltiere steuern. Nieren-Hochdruck 2011;40:217-9.

Pedrioli DM, Karpanen T, Dabouras V, Jurisic G, van de HG, Shin JW, Marino D, Kalin RE, Leidel S, Cinelli P, Schulte-Merker S, Brandli AW, Detmar M. miR-31 functions as a negative regulator of lymphatic vascular lineage-specific differentiation in vitro and vascular development in vivo. Mol Cell Biol 2010 July;30(14):3620-34.

Steinberg F, Zhuang L, Beyeler M, Kalin RE, Mullis PE, Brandli AW, Trueb B. The FGFRL1 receptor is shed from cell membranes, binds fibroblast growth factors (FGFs), and antagonizes FGF signaling in Xenopus embryos. J Biol Chem 2010 January 15;285(3):2193-202.

Kälin RE, Bänzinger-Tobler NE, Detmar M, Brändli AW. An in vivo chemical library screen in Xenopus tadpoles reveals novel pathways involved in angiogenesis and lymphangiogenesis. Blood 2009; 114:1110-1122

Neri D, Brändli AW. Encoding chemistry. Nat. Chem. Biol. 2009; 5:452-453

Wheeler GN, Brändli AW. Simple vertebrate models for chemical genetics and drug discovery screens: Lessons from zebrafish and Xenopus. Dev Dyn 2009 May 13;238(6):1287-308.

Christensen EI, Raciti D, Reggiani L, Verroust PJ, Brändli AW. Gene expression analysis defines the proximal tubule as the compartment for endocytic receptor-mediated uptake in the Xenopus pronephric kidney. Pflugers Arch 2008 September;456(6):1163-76.

Nowik M, Lecca MR, Velic A, Rehrauer H, Brändli AW, Wagner CA. Genome-wide gene expression profiling reveals renal genes regulated during metabolic acidosis. Physiol Genomics 2008 February 19;32(3):322-34.

Raciti D, Reggiani L, Geffers L, Jiang Q, Bacchion F, Subrizi AE, Clements D, Tindal C, Davidson DR, Kaissling B, Brändli AW. Organization of the pronephric kidney revealed by large-scale gene expression mapping. Genome Biol 2008;9(5):R84.

Kälin RE, Kretz MP, Meyer AM, Kispert A, Heppner FL, Brändli AW. Paracrine and autocrine mechanisms of apelin signaling govern embryonic and tumor angiogenesis. Dev Biol 2007 May 15;305(2):599-614.

Reggiani L, Raciti D, Airik R, Kispert A, Brändli AW. The prepattern transcription factor Irx3 directs nephron segment identity. Genes Dev 2007 September 15;21(18):2358-70.