Prof. Dr. Mikael Simons


Molecular Neurobiology

Academic Career and Research Areas

Professor Simons is a neurobiologist and neurologist, and he works on questions of cell biology concerning the development of the brain and regeneration. His major research interest is in the biology of glial cells and he specifically investigates the molecular mechanisms behind the formation of myelin and regeneration. The importance of myelin is revealed by de- or dysmyelinating diseases in which the loss of myelin can lead to considerable neurological deficits. For example, in the case of multiple sclerosis, autoimmune reactions against myelin cause multifocal, demyelinating lesions to appear in the central nervous system. Professor Simons’ working group aims to decode the molecular mechanisms behind myelin biogenesis in order to develop new remyelination therapies.

Professor Simons studied medicine and obtained his doctorate at Heidelberg University. After completing specialist training as a neurologist and obtaining his postdoctoral teaching qualification in Tübingen, he became a group leader and senior physician at the University of Göttingen and at the Max Planck Institute for Experimental Medicine. Professor Simons has been Professor of Neurology at the University of Göttingen since 2009. In 2015, he was appointed to the newly founded Chair of Molecular Neurobiology at the TUM School of Medicine.


  • Hans and Ilse Breuer Award (2014)
  • EMBO Young Investigator Award (2008)
  • Attempto Award in Neurosciences (2003)
  • Academy Award, Heidelberg Academy of Sciences and Humanities (2002)
  • Heinz Maier-Leibnitz Prize, German Research Foundation (DFG) (2001)

Cantuti-Castelvetri L, Fitzner D, Bosch-Queralt M, Weil MT, Su M, Sen P, Ruhwedel T, Mitkovski M, Trendelenburg G, Lütjohann D, Möbius W, Simons M: "Defective cholesterol clearance limits remyelination in the aged central nervous system". Science. 2018; 359(6376): 684-688.


Safaiyan S, Kannaiyan N, Snaidero N, Brioschi S, Biber K, Yona S, Edinger AL, Jung S, Rossner MJ, Simons M: "Age-related myelin degradation burdens microglia clearance function during aging". Nature Neurosci. 2018; 19(8): 995-998.


Sharma K, Schmitt S, Bergner CG, Tyanova S, Kannaiyan N, Manrique-Hoyos N, Kongi K, Cantuti L, Hanisch UW, Philips MA, Rossner MJ, Mann M, Simons M: "Cell-type and brain-region resolved mouse brain proteome". Nature Neurosci. 2015; 18(12): 1819-1831.


Snaidero N, Möbius W, Czopka T, Hekking LHP, Mathisen C, Verkleij D, Goebbels S, Edgar J, Merkler D, Lyons DA, Nave KA, Simons M: "Myelin membrane wrapping of CNS axons by PI(3,4,5)P3-dependent polarized growth at the inner tongue". Cell. 2014; 156(1-2): 277-290.


Trajkovic K, Hsu C, Chiantia S, Rajendran L, Wenzel D, Wieland F, Schwille P, Brügger B, Simons M: "Ceramide triggers budding of exosome vesicles into multivesicular endosomes". Science. 2008; 319(5867): 1244-1247.