Sie sind hier: FRIAS School of Life Sciences … Fellows Wolfgang Driever

Wolfgang Driever

Internal Senior Fellow
October 2008 - October 2012

Freiburg University
Developmental Biology
Hauptstrasse 1
79104 Freiburg im Breisgau

Tel. +49 (0)761-203 - 2587


Wolfgang Driever is professor and chair of the Department of Developmental Biology, Institute Biology I, at the Albert-Ludwigs-University of Freiburg.

He studied Biochemistry at Universities of Tübingen and Munich, and performed his doctoral thesis at the Max-Planck-Institute for Developmental Biology in Tübingen with Prof. C. Nüsslein-Volhard. Following a postdoc at the University of Oregon, Eugene USA, he was appointed in 1990 as Assistant Professor of Genetics, Harvard Medical School and MGH. Since 1996 he is Professor of Developmental Biology at Albert-Ludwigs-University Freiburg.

He was Co-Founder of the biotech company DeveloGen AG in 1997. Since 2001 he is the coordinator of SFB/CRC592 Signaling Mechanisms in Embryogenesis and Organogenesis. From was the initiator of ZBSA Center for Systems Biology at the University of Freiburg, and since 2010 acts as its Director.

He is recipient of the Otto-Hahn Award of Max-Planck-Society and of the Otto Mangold Award of the German Society for Developmental Biology. From 1998-99 he served as president of the German Society for Developmental Biology. He has been member on editorial boards of Development, Developmental Biology, Mechanisms of Development, BMC Developmental Biology.


Research Focus

Analysis of developmental mechanisms at the molecular level and quantitative understanding of complex regulatory networks using systems biology approaches. Projects include: 
Transcriptional networks downstream of the pluripotency factor Pou5f1/Oct4 during embryonic development of zebrafish: network structure and dynamics, mechanisms of developmental timing), mechanisms coordinating pattern formation and differentiation, coordination of cell movements during gastrulation .
Formation and function of complex neuronal systems - the dopaminergic systems in zebrafish: transcriptional networks) and signaling networks specifying dopaminergic subtypes; neural network function.


FRIAS Project

Research aims at systems level understanding of dopaminergic neuronal differentiation and circuit formation. Dopaminergic (DA) neurons have been the focus of intensive biomedical research over the past decades, motivated by their broad neuromodulatory input into behavior and physiology, as well as by their involvement in debilitating diseases including Parkinson's disease, schizophrenia and addiction. Research has mostly focused on mammalian mesencephalic DA neurons, while the development of DA groups in the forebrain is little understood. Crucial questions in three areas are investigated here. (1) Transcriptional specification of DA subtypes of fore- and midbrain. Which developmental modules and guidance mechanisms control DA axonal pathfinding and synaptogenesis? (2) Is regeneration of DA neurons from endogenous neural stem cells possible - and how? (3) While the mammalian mesencephalic DA groups are very well studies with respect to a their impact on neural circuit function, little is know about the function of the other far-projecting systems. We investigate contributions of diencephalic A11 - type DA neurons to neural circuit function and behavior.


Selected Publications

  1. A. Filippi, C. Jainok, W. Driever: Analysis of transcriptional codes for zebrafish dopaminergic neurons reveals essential functions of Arx and Isl1 in prethalamic dopaminergic neuron development.Dev Biol, 2012.
  2. A.M. Fernandes, K. Fero, A.B. Arrenberg, S.A. Bergeron, W. Driever, H.A. Burgess: Deep Brain Photoreceptors Control Light-Seeking Behavior in Zebrafish Larvae.Curr Biol, 2012.
  3. O. Ronneberger, K. Liu, M. Rath, D. Ruebeta, T. Mueller, H. Skibbe, B. Drayer, T. Schmidt, A. Filippi, R. Nitschke, T. Brox, H. Burkhardt, W. Driever: ViBE-Z: a framework for 3D virtual colocalization analysis in zebrafish larval brains.Nat Methods, 2012.
  4. Tay TL, Ronneberger O, Ryu S, Nitschke R, Driever W (2011) Comprehensive catecholaminergic projectome analysis reveals single-neuron integration of zebrafish ascending and descending dopaminergic systems. Nat Commun 2:171.
  5. Onichtchouk, D., Geier, F., Polok, B., Messerschmidt, D.M., Mossner, R., Wendik, B., Song, S., Taylor, V., Timmer, J., and Driever, W. (2010). Zebrafish Pou5f1-dependent transcriptional networks in temporal control of early development. Mol Syst Biol 6, 354.
  6. Mahler, J., Filippi A., and Driever W. (2010). DeltaA/DeltaD regulate multiple and temporally distinct phases of Notch signaling during dopaminergic neurogenesis in zebrafish. J Neurosci 30(49):16621–16635.
  7. Kastenhuber E, Kratochwil CF, Ryu S, Schweitzer J, Driever W (2010) Genetic dissection of dopaminergic and noradrenergic contributions to catecholaminergic tracts in early larval zebrafish. J Comp Neurol 518:439-458.
  8. Lohr, H., Ryu, S. and Driever, W. (2009). Zebrafish diencephalic A11-related dopaminergic neurons share a conserved transcriptional network with neuroendocrine cell lineages. Development 136, 1007-17.
  9. Kastenhuber E, Kern U, Bonkowsky JL, Chien CB, Driever W, Schweitzer J (2009) Netrin-DCC, Robo-Slit, and heparan sulfate proteoglycans coordinate lateral positioning of longitudinal dopaminergic diencephalospinal axons. J Neurosci 29:8914-8926.
  10. Ryu, S., Mahler, J., Acampora, D., Holzschuh, J., Erhardt, S., Omodei, D., Simeone, A., and Driever, W. (2007). Orthopedia homeodomain protein is essential for diencephalic dopaminergic neuron development. Curr Biol 17, 873-880.
  11. Simons, M., Gloy, J., Ganner, A., Bullerkotte, A., Bashkurov, M., Kronig, C., Schermer, B., Benzing, T., Cabello, O.A., Jenny, A., et al. (2005). Inversin, the gene product mutated in nephronophthisis type II, functions as a molecular switch between Wnt signaling pathways. Nat Genet 37, 537-543.
  12. Kim CH, Oda T, Itoh M, Jiang D, Artinger KB, Chandrasekharappa SC, Driever W, Chitnis AB (2000) Repressor activity of Headless/Tcf3 is essential for vertebrate head formation. Nature 407:913-916.