Martin Roland

Gruppenleiter / Group Leader

Prof. Dr. med. Roland Martin

Martin, R


Clinic of Neurology
Neuroimmunology and MS Research
University Hospital Zurich


Frauenklinikstrasse 26

Ort / City

8091 Zürich

Telefon / Phone

+41-44-255 12 18

Gruppenmitglieder / Group Members

Dr. Sospedra, Mireia (Laboratory Head)
Dr. Wolfgang Faigle (Research Associate)
Dr. Ivan Jelcic (Postdoctoral fellow)
Dr. Raquel Planas (Postdoctoral fellow)
Dr. Christian Kempf (Research Associate)
Dr. Tess Brodie (Postdoctoral fellow)
Iljias Jelcic (physician)
Fabienne Largey (PhD Student)
Aleksandar Madjovski (PhD Student)
Paula Tomas (Technician)

Hauptforschungsgebiet(e) / Main Field(s) of Research / Abstract

The Department of Neuroimmunology and MS Research (nims) at the Neurology Clinic combines one of the largest MS clinics in Switzerland with several research groups that pursue clinical, translational and basic research in MS and neuroimmunology.

The focus of our research is to understand better the disease heterogeneity of MS using imaging techniques (MRI and optical coherence tomography, OCT), biological markers and motor function. In the laboratory we examine disease mechanisms of MS with particular focus on cellular immunology and molecular biology. We strive at developing new treatments particularly in areas of unmet medical needs of MS such as neuroprotection, induction of tolerance and regenerative therapies.

Clinical Trials

Our group pursues both industry-sponsored phase II/III trials and investigator-initiated phase I/II clinical trials with a clear emphasis on the latter. We gather experience with all novel and already approved drugs in MS. Our main objective is to develop new therapies that address major unmet medical needs in MS, have novel mechanisms of action and allow us to address scientific questions in humans/MS patients, which could otherwise not be studied, e.g. in animal models. These treatments cover immunomodulatory and symptomatic approaches, immune repertoire-exchanging and tolerization therapies, as well as neuroprotective and neuroregenerative approaches. Therapies include small molecules, biologics (e.g. monoclonal antibodies) or cell-based approaches.

The focus in the next years will be on tolerization therapies, autologous hematopoietic stem cell transplantation, and neuro-/myelin-protective approaches. We invite our patients to participate in these studies that examine new treatments in all stages of MS from clinically isolated syndrome to primary progressive MS. We also actively pursue both active and passive vaccination approaches against progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML).

Clinical Research Priority Program Multiple Sclerosis CRPPMS (Klinischer Forschungsschwerpunkt Multiple Sklerose/KFSPMS)

The core interest of the KFSPMS is the investigation of biological and immunological mechanisms underlying disease heterogeneity in MS. The first phase will focus on an in-vivo phenotyping algorithm of disease subtypes based on imaging paradigms (structural and functional MRI; optical coherence tomography [OCT]), biological and proteomic as well as genetic markers. Based on these findings we are striving for novel treatments and to these in proof-of-concept trial. The greater context is to build an internationally visible translational research focus in MS here in Zurich.

Schlüsselwörter für Forschungsgebiet(e) / Keywords for Research Field(s)

Multiple Sclerosis, neuroimmunology, autoimmune diseases


Ausbildung und Schulung / Education and Training

We have training opportunities for Master and PhD students, Postdocs and MD-PhD students.

We organize the Nims seminar series on Wednesdays. Please find the program and further details here:

Wichtigste Publikationen / Selected Publications

  1. Martin R., Howell M.D., Jaraquemada D., Flerlage M., Richert J., Brostoff S.W., Long E.O., McFarlin D.E., McFarland H.F. (1991) A myelin basic protein peptide is recognized by cytotoxic T cells in the context of four HLA-DR types associated with multiple sclerosis. J. Exp. Med. 173: 19-24. (IF 14.500)
  2. Utz, U., Biddison, W.E., Flerlage, M., McFarland, H.F., McFarlin, D.E., Martin, R. (1993) Skewed T cell receptor repertoire in genetically identical twins with multiple sclerosis correlates with disease. Nature, 364: 243-247. (IF 22.326)
  3. Sommer, N., Löschmann, P.A., Northoff, G. H., Weller, M., Steinbrecher, A., Steinbach, J.P., Lichtenfels, R., Meyermann, R., Riethmüller, A., Fontana, A., Dichgans, J, Martin, R. (1995) The antidepressant rolipram suppresses cytokine production and prevents autoimmune encephalomyelitis. Nat. Med., 1: 244-248. (IF 24.300)
  4. Hemmer, B.*, Gran, B.*, Zhao, Y., Marques, A., Pinilla, C., Pascal, J., Tzou, A., Kondo, T., Cortese, I., Bielekova, B., Straus, S., McFarland, H.F., Houghten, R., Simon, R., Martin, R. (1999) Identification of candidate epitopes and molecular mimics in chronic Lyme disease. Nat. Med., 5: 1375-1382 *equal contribution. (IF 26.584)
  5. Bielekova, B., Goodwin, B., Richert, N., Cortese, I., Kondo, T., Eaton, J., Afshar, G., Gran, B., Eaton, J., Antel, J. Frank, J.A., McFarland, H.F., Martin, R. (2000) Encephalitogenic potential of myelin basic protein peptide (83-99) in multiple sclerosis – Results of a phase II clinical trial with an altered peptide ligand. Nat. Med., 6: 1167-1175. (IF 27.906)
  6. Kondo, T.*, Cortese, I.*, Markovic-Plese, S., Wandinger, K.-P., Carter, C., Brown, M., Leitman, S., Martin, R. (2001) Dendritic cells signal T cells in the absence of exogenous antigen. Nat. Immunol., 2: 932-938 (IF 17.431). * equal contribution
  7. Sospedra, M., Zhao, Y., zur Hausen, H., Muraro, P.A., Hamashin, C., de Villiers, E.-M., Pinilla, C., Martin, R. (2005) Recognition of conserved amino acid motifs of common viruses and its role in autoimmunity. PLoS Pathog. 335-348.
  8. Bielekova, B., Catalfamo, M., Reichert-Scrivner, S., Cerna, M., Waldmann, T. McFarland, H.F., Henkart, P., Martin. R. (2006) Regulatory CD56bright NK cells mediate immunomodulatory effects of IL-2Ra-tar).geted therapy (Daclizumab) in multiple sclerosis. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 103: 5941-5946. (IF 9.643)
  9. Lutterotti, A., Yousef, S., Sputtek, A., Stürner, K., Stellmann, J.-P., Breiden, P., Reinhardt, S., Schulze, C., Bester, M., Heesen, C., Schippling, S., Miller, S.D., Sospedra, M., Martin, R. (2013) Induction of tolerance by autologous peptide-coupled cells in multiple sclerosis. Science Transl. Med., 5: 188ra75.doi:10.1126. (IF 14.414)
  10. Sospedra, M., Schippling, S., Yousef, S., Jelcic, I., Bofill-Mas, S., Planas, R., Stellmann, J.P., Demina, V., Cinque, P., Garcea, R., Croughs, T., Girones, R., Martin, R. Treating Progressive Multifocal Leukoencephalopathy With Interleukin 7 and Vaccination With JC Virus Capsid Protein VP1. Clin Infect Dis. Sep 11 (2014)

Finanzierung / Funding

University of Zurich (CRPPMS), Wyss Translational Center Zurich, Swiss National Science Foundation, European Research Council Advanced Grant, other EU funding, industrial sources

Link zur "Forschungsdatenbank" der UZH / Link to the UZH "research database"