Cilia as the brain’s supply pump

A research group led by caesar scientist Prof. Dagmar Wachten participated in a new study on cilia, including a novel tool for research. The resulting publications appear in “Current Biology” and “Cells”.

Bonn, January 4, 2019. Cilia are very small, hair-like appendages. These mobile structures fulfill a multitude of tasks, such as performing as motors or antennas. In the brain, they provide a steady flow of nutritious fluid to the cells. However, much is still unknown about the function and the significance of cilia.

Now, new publications – with participation of caesar scientist Prof. Dagmar Wachten and her research group – deliver further insight into the mysterious structures. The study “Spatially organized ciliary beating compartmentalizes cerebrospinal fluid flow in the brain and regulates ventricular development” (“Current Biology”) examines how cilia function in the brain of zebrafish. Here, the authors found that cilia organize themselves to generate a directed, constant flow. The restriction of movement of the cilia will lead to developmental brain defects.

The study also utilized a new tool. ”SpermQ” allows for the examination of cilia in unprecedented detail. The tool, also developed by members of the Wachten group, has recently been published in the journal “Cells” (“SpermQ – A Simple Analysis Software to Comprehensively Study Flagellar Beating and Sperm Steering”).

Original publications:
Olstad, E.W., Ringers, C., Hansen, J. N., Wens, A., Brandt, C., Wachten, D., Yaksi, E., Jurisch-Yaksi, N. Spatially organized ciliary beating compartmentalizes cerebrospinal fluid flow in the brain and regulates ventricular development. Cur. Biol. 2019, in press.;

Hansen, J.N., Rassmann, S., Jikeli, J.F., Wachten, D. SpermQ - a simple analysis software to comprehensively study flagellar beating and sperm steering. Cells 2019, 8(1),10;


Scientific contact: Prof. Dr. Dagmar Wachten (eMail:

Press contact: Sebastian Scherrer (Tel.: +49 228/9656-139 / eMail:

About research center caesar
The Center of Advanced European Studies and Research (caesar) in Bonn, Germany, is a neuroethology research institute that focuses on the neural mechanisms underlying animal behavior. The institute is operated by a non-profit foundation under private law. Trustors are the Federal Republic of Germany and the Federal State of North Rhine-Westphalia. caesar is closely associated with the Max Planck Society (MPG) and shares its scientific principles. The President of the MPG chairs the Board of Trustees and  caesar's directors are Scientific Members of the MPG.



Press Contact

 Sebastian Scherrer
Sebastian Scherrer
Public Relations Officer
+49 (0)228 9656-139