Genetic Dissection of Cerebral Cortex Development

Simon Hippenmeyer

The human brain, of which the cerebral cortex is the largest structure, is composed of a sophisticated network of billions of interconnected neurons. Precise mapping of the cortical architecture is an essential starting point to learn how cortical circuits account for behavior and cognitive activity, and how alterations in the cytoarchitecture might lead to neurological and psychiatric disorders or dementia. We use multidisciplinary approaches including the genetic MADM (Mosaic Analysis with Double Markers) technology with the aim to trace the logic of how individual neurons successively build up the cortical entity during development. MADM technology offers an unparalleled method to visualize and concomitantly manipulate sparse clones and small subsets of genetically defined neurons at the single cell level in mice. In other words, if one imagines looking at a forest afar it is very difficult to recognize the trimming of a single branch of an individual tree. However, when a single tree stands lonely in a field one can easily observe the snip of even the finest branches of that tree. Similarly, with the MADM method we can now navigate through the dense brain meshwork and follow individual neurons and their fine branches in differently shining red and green colors. An added critical feature of MADM is the possibility to not only label single cells but at the same time also pursue genetic manipulations: it is feasible to label certain neurons that are wild-type in one color, say green. At the same time, MADM can also label in red genetically mutant neighboring sisters of the ‘healthy’ green cells. This allows comparison of wild-type and mutant neurons side by side. We apply MADM to study the fundamental cellular, molecular and epigenetic mechanisms underlying the critical neurodevelopmental processes that control the assembly of the cortex cytoarchitecture.

Simon Hippenmeyer
Institute of Science and Technology Austria (IST Austria)
Am Campus 1
A – 3400 Klosterneuburg

Phone: +43 (0)2243 9000-5101

CV and publication list

Hippenmeyer Group website

Astrid Angel

Phone: +43 (0)2243 9000-1096


  • Gloria Arque, Postdoc
  • Martin Frank, Intern
  • Priscila Hirschfeld, ISTern
  • Tajamul Hussein, Intern
  • Susanne Laukoter, PhD Student
  • Maria Pia Postiglione, Postdoc
  • Justine Renno, PhD Student
  • Carmen Streicher, Technician

Selected Publications

  • Postiglione, MP. and Hippenmeyer, S. (2014). Monitoring Neurogenesis in the Cerebral Cortex - an Update. Future Neurology, 9(3): 323-340.
  • Hippenmeyer, S.*, Johnson, RL. & Luo, L.* (2013). Mosaic Analysis with Double Markers Reveals Cell Type Specific Paternal Dominance. (*co-corresponding authors). Cell Reports, 3: 960-967. 1)
  • Tasic, B.*, Miyamichi, K.*, Hippenmeyer, S.*, Dani, VS., Zeng, H., Joo, W., Zong, H., Chen-Tsai, Y. & Luo, L. (2012). Extensions of MADM (Mosaic Analysis with Double Markers) in mice. (*equal contribution). PLoS ONE, 7(3): e33332.
  • Liu, C., Sage, JC.*, Miller, MR.*, Verhaak, RGW.*, Hippenmeyer, S., Vogel, H., Foreman, O., Bronson, RT., Nishiyama, A., Luo, L. & Zong, H. (2011). Mosaic Analysis with Double Markers Reveals Tumor Cell of Origin in Glioma. (*equal contribution). Cell, 146 (2): 209-21.
  • Hippenmeyer, S.*, Youn, YH., Moon, HM., Miyamichi, K., Zong, H., Wynshaw-Boris, A. & Luo, L.* (2010). Genetic Mosaic Dissection of Lis1 and Ndel1 in Neuronal Migration. (*co-corresponding authors). Neuron 68 (4): 695-709.

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Since 2012 Assistant Professor, IST Austria
2011-2012 Research Associate, Stanford University, Palo Alto, USA
2006-2011 Postdoctoral Fellow, Stanford University, Palo Alto, USA
2004-2006 Postdoctoral Associate, University of Basel and Friedrich Miescher Institute for Biomedical Research, Basel, Switzerland
2004 PhD, University of Basel and Friedrich Miescher Institute for Biomedical Research, Basel, Switzerland

Selected Disctintions

2014 HFSP Grant
2013 Marie Curie Career Integration Grant
2009-2011 Fellowship for Advanced Researchers (Swiss National Foundation, Bern, Switzerland)
2007-2009 HFSP Long-Term Fellowship
2006 EMBO Long-Term Fellowship
2005 Faculty Prize 2005 for best PhD thesis of 2004 (Faculty of Natural Sciences, University of Basel  Switzerland)

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