Axel Heep, MD, FRCPCH,
Professor University of Bristol
Email: Lab website:

Areas of Interest: Biomarkers, Developmental Biology, Genetics, Imaging, Post Hemorrhagic

Research focus:

Since 2001 I have been contributing to experimental and basic clinical research on neuro-pathological mechanisms of neonatal posthaemorrhagic hydrocephalus. This work has included molecular genetic studies on pro-inflammatory gene polymorphisms as well as studies on classic apoptotic pathway, pro-inflammatory cytokine expression and repair mechanisms following perinatal brain injury. In 2008 I initiated a collaborative research project studying the influence of preterm birth on the sensorimotor system of preterm infants following IVH with functional MR imaging. The German Research Foundation funded projects until 2013. In 2011 I was able to transfer work in the field of neonatal functional neuroimaging to the Neonatal Neuroimaging project led by Dr Karen Luyt and Prof. Risto Kauppinen at the CRIC Bristol. This ongoing work has given insight in development and adaptation of motor function following preterm birth including perinatal brain injury. I have been involved in research on fetal endoscopic treatment of spina bifida and associated hydrocephalus and have published pioneering work in this field. Since 2015 I have developed research projects on characterization of neural progenitor cells and molecular signaling in the cerebrospinal fluid of newborn infants with posthaemorrhagic ventricular dilatation together with Prof. J. Uney at the Stem Cells and the Neurodegeneration Research Group at the UOB. The Elizabeth Blackwell Institute (UK) is supporting this new research direction with a Clinical Research Primer fellowship in 2016-17.