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3D-Brain Models Lab:

Unlocking the Secrets of Neurodegenerative Diseases & Beyond

Principal Inestigator:  Dr. Vidhya M. Ravi

Former Internal FRIAS Junior Fellow (Oct 2021- July 2022)
Dr. Vidhya Madapusi Ravi — Freiburg Institute for Advanced Studies – FRIAS (uni-freiburg.de)

Chief Organizer of Neuron-Glia Interface Meeting Freiburg:
The Neuron-Glia Interface | Universitätsklinikum Freiburg (uniklinik-freiburg.de)

Vita von Dr. Vidhya Ravi


Welcome to the 3D-Brain Models Lab – where the mysteries of the mind come to life! Our revolutionary research focuses on cultivating long-lasting ex vivo brain slice cultures to better understand neurodegenerative diseases and neuro-oncology. By harnessing state-of-the-art 3D culturing techniques, we're able to preserve the vitality of these essential tissue samples, opening up new possibilities for exploring the roots of neurological disorders.
Join our dedicated team of researchers as we break the boundaries of conventional neuroscience/neurooncology , employing novel tools such as single nuclei sequencing, spatial transcriptomics, and multi-dimensional imaging.
We are excited to announce that we are currently hiring ambitious and passionate PhD students/ Post-docs to join our team and contribute to the development of pioneering diagnostic tools, prevention strategies, and life-changing treatments for neurodegenerative diseases and brain cancers.
Explore our website to learn more about our trailblazing research, latest publications, and how you can get involved in our quest to unlock the secrets of the brain.
Join us on this inspiring journey as we shape a brighter, healthier future in a truly International and collaborative setting!

Contact: Vidhya.ravi@uniklinik-freiburg.de

Collaborative Partners:


  • PD. Dr. Dieter Henrik Heiland (Neurosurgery-University Clinic of Freiburg)
  • Prof. Dr med. Oliver Schnell (University Clinic of Erlangen)
  • Prof. Dr. Marco Prinz (Neuropathology- University Clinic of Freiburg)
  • Dr. Roman Sankowski (Neuropathology-University Clinic of Freiburg)
  • PD.Dr. Jonas Hosp (Neurology-University Clinic of Freiburg)
  • Prof. Dr. Andreas Vlachos (University of Freiburg)
  • Prof. Dr. Ulrich Hofmann ( Neurosurgery-University Clinic of Freiburg)
  • PD.Dr. Felix Sahm (Neuropathology-University of Heidelberg)


  • Dr. Thomas Daubon (University of Bordeaux)


  • Dr. Tobias Weiss ( ETH Zurich)


  • Dr. Kirsi Rautajoki (Tampere Institute for Advanced Study)

United States:

  • Prof. Dr. Atique Ahmed (Northwestern University)
  • Dr. Andy Daniel
  • Dr. Rongze Olivia Lu
  • Prof. Dr. Crystall Mackall
  • Prof. Steven Sloan ( Emory University)


1. AutograFImmune CompeteNt HumAn GLioblastoma ModEl  (FINALE)

Glioblastoma (GBM) stands as the most aggressive form of brain tumor, with a median patient survival time of less than 14 months. The tumor microenvironment (TME) within GBM plays a crucial role in driving tumor proliferation and drug resistance, making it a promising therapeutic target. However, progress in developing TME-targeting treatments has been hindered by the lack of a reliable preclinical model that accurately mirrors the unique features of the human brain.Addressing this challenge, we have recently established a groundbreaking human cortical tissue-based GBM model that closely replicates the composition and function of the human brain. Our research team's long-term goal is to unravel the molecular intricacies of GBM's distinctive physiology and leverage this knowledge to develop novel therapeutic strategies.Our central hypothesis, based on previously published data, suggests that unwanted immune responses and interactions within the TME in existing patient-mismatched models contribute to tumor growth and interactions. To overcome this limitation, our proposed project "FINALE" aims to create personalized GBM models that can comprehensively and accurately address these challenges.

By harnessing an innovative combination of tissue engineering and transcriptomic characterization using state-of-the-art techniques, we strive to engineer human brain models that can precisely dissect the mechanisms of GBM progression, accelerate clinical testing, and most importantly, provide a platform for personalized medicine.
Join us as we embark on this groundbreaking journey to revolutionize brain tumor research and transform the future of personalized medicine for GBM patients.

2. Exploring Reactive Astrocytes transformation in IDH-mutant Gliomas:

Astrocytes play a crucial role in the tumor microenvironment, and their reactive transformation in IDH wild-type glioma has been shown to contribute to anti-tumor immunity and support pro-oncogenic signaling. However, the role of intra- and peritumoral astrocytes in IDH1/2 mutated glioma, a prognostically beneficial subgroup with oncogene-driven enrichment of R-2-hydroxyglutarate (2-HG), remains largely unexplored.
In this project, we set out to characterize the transcriptomic signature of IDH1/2-mutant glioma-associated astrocytes and unveil a unique inflammatory transformation that differs significantly from astrocytes in IDH wild-type glioma patients.


Photos from the lab:

(Congratulations to Mr. Junyi Zhang for being awarded the "Best Poster Presentation" prize at the NGI 2022 conference in Freiburg)

Group Members:

  • Mr. Tao Peng (PhD Student)
  • Mr. Aso Mohammed (PhD Student)
  • Mr. Shiefi Cai (PhD Student)
  • Mr. Mathieu Larroquette (Visiting PhD student)
  • Ms. Ambra-Stella Boecke (Research Assistant)


  • Mr. Junyi Zhang (PhD Student, Co-supervisor)
  • Dr. Giuseppina Catanzaro (Guest Researcher from Italy)
  • Mr. Laurin Ganser ( Bachelor Thesis Student)



Croped Activity

Onlinemedien 1

Klinik für Neurochirurgie

im Neurozentrum
Breisacher Straße 64
D-79106 Freiburg

Telefon: 0761 270-50010 /-50020
Telefax: 0761 270-50240

Ärztliche Direktion

Prof. Dr. Jürgen Beck
Ärztlicher Direktor
Telefon: 0761 270-50060
International call: +49-761-270-50060   


Susanne Hall

Susanne Hall
Telefon 0761 270-52260
Telefax 0761 270-54200


Moritz Wenk
Augen- / HNO- Klinik / Neurozentrum
Telefon 0761 270-40650