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Prof. Dr. Nilima Prakash

Applied Genetics and Stem Cell Biology

Profile | Prof. Dr. Nilima Prakash

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Teaching and Research topics

  • Genetics (Molecular Genetics, Human Genetics, Forensic Genetics)
  • Genetic Engineering
  • Molecular and Cell Biology
  • Stem Cell Biology
  • Developmental Neurobiology/Neuropsychiatric Diseases
  • Human Stem Cell Research Group

Current research focus within the research area "Medicine"

  • Development of a subtype-specific protocol for the generation of midbrain dopaminergic nerve cells in the culture dish suitable for the regenerative (stem cell-based) therapy of Parkinson's Disease and the in vitro modeling of disease-relevant aspects or testing of small therapeutic molecules for other dopamine-associated neuropsychiatric disorders (e.g., addictions and schizophrenia).
  • Deciphering the role of electrophysiological activities and in particular of ion channel subunits in the generation and especially survival of midbrain dopaminergic nerve cells and their subtypes in the culture dish, which were derived from human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) of healthy controls and idiopathic (sporadic) Parkinson's patients, as a potential new approach to the early diagnosis, therapy or even prevention of Parkinson's Disease.


Other expertise

  • Mentor in the TUM Mentoring Program, Technical University of Munich
  • Ad hoc assessor of numerous scientific journals and research funding agencies
  • Co-Editor of the Research Topic “Mid-hindbrain Development: New Insights, New Disorders…” in Frontiers in Neuroanatomy.
  • Certificate to act as project leader for genetic engineering and as a commissioner for biological safety according to the Federal Safety Act for Genetic Engineering (Fortbildungsveranstaltung gem. § 15 GenTSV)
  • Approvals to conduct animal experimentation (§ 8 Abs. 1 TierSchG)
  • Memberships: International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISSCR), German Genetics Society (GfG), Stem Cell Network NRW (StN NRW), Graduate School NRW (PK NRW)

The successful combination of student vocational and research training in the fields of molecular biology, cell biology, and genetics is one of Prof. Dr. Nilima Prakash's aspirations within the strong industrial and research surroundings of the Hamm-Lippstadt University of Applied Sciences. Her research focusses on human stem cells for a better diagnosis, therapy and prevention of dopamine-associated neuropsychiatric diseases, such as Parkinson's Disease.

Born in Caracas and raised in Venezuela, Prof. Prakash studied Biology (Diploma) at the University of Konstanz after her general qualification for university entrance at the German school in Caracas. She pursued her PhD (Dr. rer. nat.) at the Institute of Cell Biochemistry and Clinical Neurobiology of the University-Hospital Hamburg-Eppendorf and the University of Hamburg. Her postdoctoral research took her to the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, and the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel. Afterwards, she became a research scientist in the research group Molecular Neurogenetics at the Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry in Munich.

Developmental neurobiology, molecular neurogenetics, stem cell as well as systems biology were the focus of her subsequent research work. Before joining the Hamm-Lippstadt University of Applied Sciences, Prof. Prakash led a team investigating the differentiation and survival of different neuronal populations in the mammalian brain at the Institute of Developmental Genetics, Helmholtz Munich, for twelve years. In 2013, she qualified as a professor (habilitated) at the Technical University of Munich with work about "Midbrain development in the mouse with a special focus on midbrain dopaminergic neurons – Molecules, mechanisms and systems biological approaches". Apart from her research work, she also taught several courses at the Technical University of Munich and the Ludwig-Maximilians University of Munich, amongst others.

Prof. Prakash received several honors and awards for her work: among them the Science Prize Weihenstephan of the City of Freising 2013, and an abstract award of the International Society for Developmental Neuroscience at the 17th Biennial Meeting 2008 in Asilomar. She is a former scholar of the Minerva Stiftung and of the German Academic Exchange Service.

Prof. Prakash is currently a professorial member of the Department “Life Sciences and Health Technologies” at the Graduate School NRW, where she also served as Deputy Director from 2019 to 2023, and her research group is part of the Stem Cell Network NRW. The author of numerous research articles and regular speaker at national and international conferences holds the professorship of "Applied Genetics and Stem Cell Biology" at the Hamm-Lippstadt University of Applied Sciences since the 1st of June, 2015.

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