Due to high development costs and the lack of intellectual property protection, many inventions in the life sciences do not make it into clinical practice. NeuroCure collaborates with the SPARK-BIH-Program to overcome such hurdles—especially when it comes to neurological and psychiatric diseases.

SPARK-BIH was launched in 2014 by two NeuroCure members — Prof. Dr. Craig Garner and Prof. Dr. Ulrich Dirnagl — and aims to advance translation of research findings into the development of specific diagnostic procedures, medical devices, and active substances. The program, originally developed at Stanford University (USA), helps scientists find ways of putting their research projects into practice.

A SPARK working group has been established within NeuroCure to advise and support NeuroCure scientists on projects that could potentially lead to clinically relevant neuroscientific therapies, diagnoses, and devices.

This is done mainly through:

  • offering regular advanced training (with a focus on translation)
  • working closely with a large network of advisors (including experts on basic research, industry, and pertinent regulatory aspects)
  • consulting services and collaboration to ensure application-oriented project development
  • and project-specific, milestone-based financial support.


In the first call in 2020 four projects were selected for funding:



After the successful implementation of the NeuroCure/SPARK program, NeuroCure and SPARK-BIH prolonged their collaboration and initiated a second call for projects in 2022. These five teams have been selected for funding:

Team PERCIPIENCE (Predictors for chemotherapy-induced polyneuropathy identified with mass spectrometry), with PD Dr. Petra Hühnchen, PD Dr. Wolfgang Böhmerle, Dr. Vadim Farztdinov, Dr. Michael Mülleder and Prof. Dr. Matthias Endres aims to find a predictive biomarker for chemotherapy-induced polyneuropathies.

Team Valbiothics (Validation of Biomarkers and Potential Therapeutic Targets in Neurodegenerative Diseases) with PD Dr. Péter Körtvélyessy, Dr. Felix Wohlrab, Laura Göschel and Prof. Dr. Matthias Endres wants to identify prognostic biomarkers from a well-characterized patient cohort.

Myalink represents a digital platform to monitor myasthenia gravis patients and to provide access to specialists. During the funding period, the team (Dr. Sophie Lehnerer, Dr. Maike Stein, Dr. Lea Gerischer, Prof. Andreas Meisel and Prof. Dr. Matthias Endres) wants to generate clinical evidence that monitoring of the patients will improve patients’ outcome and prevent life threatening crises.

The team of Prof. Dr. Volker Haucke and Prof. Dr. Christoph Harms (StrokeProtect – A novel treatment to prevent endothelial lesions and thromboinflammation in ischemic stroke) wants to develop a new neuroprotective therapy for stroke patients and demonstrate a proof of concept that this medication can preserve vascular integrity and attenuate damages after stroke.

The aim of dot.base (Jasper Mecklenburg, Dr. Gregor Wenzel, Prof. Dr. Andrea Kühn) is to develop a vendor-independent platform for combining and organizing data from deep-brain-stimulation patients to improve the therapy and patients’ outcome.


Dr. Alexander Stumpf

Project Manager NeuroCure/SPARK