Short CV/Education and training

  • 1989 – 1995
    Studied medicine in the Faculty of Medicine, University of Murcia, Spain; Faculty of Medicine of the University of Leeds, UK (1993)

  • 1995
    Doctorate from the Institute of Physiology and Pathophysiology, Heidelberg University, Germany

  • 1997
    Medical assistant at the Institute of Neurology, Heidelberg University

  • 1998 – 1999
    Postdoc research, Institute of Physiology and Pathophysiology, Heidelberg University

  • 1998 – 1999
    Visiting researcher in the laboratory at the Università Tor Vergata, Rome, Italy (4 months)

  • 1999 – 2006
    Group leader in the Division of Immunogenetics, German Cancer Research Centre (DKFZ), Heidelberg, Germany

  • 2006 – 2010
    Independent research group director of the DKFZ junior research group Molecular Neurobiology

  • 2011
    W3 professor of the neurobiology of brain tumours

Selected publications

  • Corsini,N.S. and Martin-Villalba,A. (2010). Integrin alpha 6: anchors away for glioma stem cells. Cell Stem Cell 6, 403-404.

  • Martin-Villalba, A. et al.: CD95-ligand on peripheral myeloid cells activates Syk kinase to trigger their recruitment to the inflammatory site. In: Immunity 32, 2010. S. 240-252.

  • Corsini, N.S. et al.: The death receptor CD95 activates adult neural stem cells for working memory formation and brain repair. In: Cell Stem Cell 5, 2009. S. 178-190.

  • Sancho-Martinez,I. and Martin-Villalba,A. (2009). Tyrosine phosphorylation and CD95: a FAScinating switch. Cell Cycle 8, 838-842

  • Kleber, S. et al.: Yes and PI3K bind CD95 to signal invasion of glioblastoma. In: Cancer Cell 13, 2008. S. 235-248.

  • Martin-Villalba, A. et al.: Control of neuronal branching by the death receptor CD95 (Fas/Apo-1). In: Cell Death. Differ. 13, 2006. S. 31-40.

  • Martin-Villalba, A. et al.: Neutralization of CD95 ligand promotes regeneration and functional recovery after spinal cord injury. In: Nat. Med. 10, 2004. S. 389-395.

Complete list of publications

Selected projects

  • The role of CD95 in neurological diseases

  • Cancer stem cells

  • Neuronal regeneration

  • Brain tumours

Membership in scientific bodies/juries

  • Society of Neuroscience

  • Reviewer for international journals: Cell Stem Cell, The Journal of Experimental Medicine (JEM), PLoS Journals, Cancer Research, Differentiation, Cell Death & Differentiation (CDD)

  • Member of search committees

Scientific advisory activities:

  • For Landbeck GmbH (development of drugs for psychiatric and neurologic disorders); involved in the development of therapeutic interventions for stroke, 2001

  • At Axaron Bioscience (now SYGNIS Pharma AG); involved in the preclinical development of therapeutic interventions for spinal cord injury, October 2004 – December 2005

  • Member of the scientific advisory board of Apogenix GmbH, since August 2003

  • Reviewer for the Fas(CD95) signalling pathway for NCI-Nature pathway interaction Database2010

Additional qualifications

  • German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), Bonn, Germany, 1996 – 1997

  • State graduate funding, Baden-Württemberg, Germany, 1996

  • Research training group: Molecular and cellular neurobiology, Heidelberg University, 1995


Soft Skills/Other activities and achievements

Other activities and achievements/family

  • Family, 3 children (born 2002, 2003, 2005)


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  1. Alarm Clock for Dormant Brain Stem Cells

    Scientists from the German Cancer Research Center DKFZ discovered that a chemical messenger called interferon-gamma awakens certain neural stem cells from dormancy. This messenger substance is released in response to oxygen deficiency or damage, and might used to activate brain stem cells after injuries or in degenerative diseases.

  2. Migrating Immune Cells Cause Death of Cerebral Neurons

    The death of dopamine-producing nerve cells is the principal cause of Parkinson's disease. Prof. Martin-Villalba and her team were able to show how in mice with induced Parkinson's, cells of the peripheral immune system migrate from the bloodstream into the brain where they play a major role in the death of neurons.