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Paul Heppenstall


Project(s) involved: XXI - Prevedel/Heppenstall 


Curriculum Vitae          

Paul Alexander Heppenstall

Date of birth 28/02/1972 | Nationality British

Scuola Internazionale Superiore di Studi Avanzati

Neuroscience Area,

Via Bonomea 265,

34136 Trieste, Italy

Tel: +39 0403787111  |



       2018                                Professor, Neuroscience, SISSA, Trieste

       2008 to 2019                   Group leader, EMBL Mouse Biology Unit, Monterotondo, Rome

       2011 to 2019                    Joint group leader, MMPU, Heidelberg

       2002 - 2008                      Junior Professor in the Klinik für Anästhesiologie und Operative Intensivmedizin, Charité – Campus Benjamin Franklin, Berlin

       2000 - 2002                      Postdoctoral fellow supported by the DFG at the Max Delbrück Centrum for Molecular Medicine, Berlin with Professor Gary Lewin..

       1998 - 2000                      “Marie Curie” Postdoctoral fellow at the Max Delbrück Centrum for Molecular Medicine, Berlin with Professor Gary Lewin.


Education and qualifications:

       2017                                 Abilitazione Scientifica Nazionale, Settore: 05/F1 Fisiologia, I Fascia

       2005                                 Junior Professor Evaluation, Charité Medical School, Berlin

       1994 - 1997                      PhD thesis at the University of Edinburgh (UK) with Professor Susan Fleetwood-Walker. “The Role of NK1 Receptors in Nociceptive Processing in the Spinal cord”.

       1990 - 1993                     University of Liverpool (UK). BSc (Hons.) Zoology



1.       Hussain AF, Heppenstall PA, Kampmeier F, Meinhold-Heerlein I, Barth S. (2019) One-step site-specific antibody fragment auto-conjugation using SNAP-tag technology. Nat Protoc. 14(11):3101-3125.

2.       Taberner FJ, Prato V, Schaefer I, Schrenk-Siemens K, Heppenstall PA, Lechner SG. (2019) Structure-guided examination of the mechanogating mechanism of PIEZO2. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 116(28):14260-14269.

3.       Nocchi L, Portulano C, Franciosa F, Doleschall B, Panea M, Roy N, Maffei M, Gargano A, Perlas E, Heppenstall PA (2019) NGF-mediated photoablation of nociceptors reduces pain behavior in mice. Pain 160(10):2305-2315.

4.       Sundukova M, Prifti E, Bucci A, Kirillova K, Serrao J, Reymond L, Umebayashi M, Hovius R, Riezman H, Johnsson K, Heppenstall PA. (2018) A chemogenetic approach for optical monitoring of voltage in neurons. Angew Chem Int Ed Engl. 2018. doi: 10.1002/anie.201812967. PubMed PMID: 30569539.

5.       Nocchi L, Roy N, D’Attilia M, Dhandapani R, Maffei M, Traista A, Castaldi L, Perlas E, Chadick CH, Heppenstall PA. (2018) Interleukin-31-mediated photoablation of pruritogenic epidermal neurons reduces itch-associated behaviours in mice. Nature Biomedical Engineering. doi: 10.1038/s41551-018-0328-5.

6.       Dhandapani R, Arokiaraj CM, Taberner FJ, Pacifico P, Raja S, Nocchi L, Portulano C, Franciosa F, Maffei M, Hussain AF, de Castro Reis F, Reymond L, Perlas E, Garcovich S, Barth S, Johnsson K, Lechner SG, Heppenstall PA. (2018) Control of mechanical pain hypersensitivity in mice through ligand-targeted photoablation of TrkB-positive sensory neurons. Nat Commun. 9(1):1640

7.       Prato V, Taberner FJ, Hockley JRF, Callejo G, Arcourt A, Tazir B, Hammer L, Schad P, Heppenstall PA, Smith ES, Lechner SG. (2017) Functional and Molecular Characterization of Mechanoinsensitive "Silent" Nociceptors. Cell Rep. 21(11):3102-3115.

8.       Simeoli R, Montague K, Jones HR, Castaldi L, Chambers D, Kelleher JH, Vacca V, Pitcher T, Grist J, Al-Ahdal H, Wong LF, Perretti M, Lai J, Mouritzen P, Heppenstall P, Malcangio M. (2017) Exosomal cargo including microRNA regulates sensory neuron to macrophage communication after nerve trauma. Nat Commun. 8(1):1778.

9.       Murana E, Pagani F, Basilico B, Sundukova M, Batti L, Di Angelantonio S, Cortese B, Grimaldi A, Francioso A, Heppenstall P, Bregestovski P, Limatola C, Ragozzino D. (2017) ATP release during cell swelling activates a Ca(2+)-dependent Cl(-) current by autocrine mechanism in mouse hippocampal microglia. Sci Rep. 7(1):4184.

10.    Morley SJ, Qi Y, Iovino L, Andolfi L, Guo D, Kalebic N, Castaldi L, Tischer C, Portulano C, Bolasco G, Shirlekar K, Fusco CM, Asaro A, Fermani F, Sundukova M, Matti U, Reymond L, De Ninno A, Businaro L, Johnsson K, Lazzarino M, Ries J, Schwab Y, Hu J, Heppenstall PA. (2016). Acetylated tubulin is essential for touch sensation in mice. Elife. 5. pii: e20813.

11.    Arcourt A, Gorham L, Dhandapani R, Prato V, Taberner FJ, Wende H, Gangadharan V, Birchmeier C, Heppenstall PA, Lechner SG. (2017). Touch Receptor-Derived Sensory Information Alleviates Acute Pain Signaling and Fine-Tunes Nociceptive Reflex Coordination. Neuron 93(1):179-193.

12.    Song K, Wang H, Kamm GB, Pohle J, Reis FC, Heppenstall P, Wende H, Siemens J. The TRPM2 channel is a hypothalamic heat sensor that limits fever and can drive hypothermia. (2016) Science. 353(6306):1393-1398.

13.    Batti L, Sundukova M, Murana E, Pimpinella S, De Castro Reis F, Pagani F, Wang H, Pellegrino E, Perlas E, Di Angelantonio S, Ragozzino D, Heppenstall PA (2016). TMEM16F regulates spinal microglial function in neuropathic pain states. Cell Reports 15(12):2608-15.

14.    Stantcheva KK, Iovino L, Dhandapani R, Martinez C, Castaldi L, Nocchi L, Perlas E, Portulano C, Pesaresi M, Shirlekar KS, de Castro Reis F, Paparountas T, Bilbao D, Heppenstall PA. (2016) A subpopulation of itch-sensing neurons marked by Ret and somatostatin expression. EMBO Rep. 17(4):585-600.

15.    Selvaraj D, Gangadharan V, Michalski CW, Kurejova M, Stösser S, Srivastava K, Schweizerhof M, Waltenberger J, Ferrara N, Heppenstall PA, Shibuya M, Augustin HG and Kuner R (2015). A functional role for VEGFR1 expressed in peripheral sensory neurons in cancer pain. Cancer Cell in press.

16.    Reinhold AK, Batti L, Bilbao D, Buness A, Rittner HL, Heppenstall PA (2015). Differential transcriptional profiling of damaged and intact adjacent dorsal root ganglia neurons in neuropathic pain. PloS One in press.

17.    Yang G, de Castro Reis F, Sundukova M, Pimpinella S, Asaro A, Castaldi L, Batti L, Bilbao D, Reymond L, Johnsson K, Heppenstall PA (2015). Genetic targeting of chemical indicators in vivo. Nat Methods. 12(2):137-9

18.    Chen JT, Guo D, Campanelli D, Frattini F, Mayer F, Zhou L, Kuner R, Heppenstall PA, Knipper M, Hu J. (2014) Presynaptic GABAergic inhibition regulated by BDNF contributes to neuropathic pain induction. Nat Commun 5:5331.

19.    Simonetti M, Agarwal N, Stösser S, Kumar Bali K, Karaulanov, E, Kamble R, Pospisilova B, Kurejova M, Birchmeier, W, Niehrs C, Heppenstall PA, Kuner R (2014) Wnt-Fzd signaling sensitizes peripheral sensory neurons via distinct non-canonical pathways. Neuron. 83(1):104-21.

20.    Kress M, Hüttenhofer A, Landry M, Kuner R, Favereaux A, Greenberg D, Bednarik J, Heppenstall P, Kronenberg F, Malcangio M, Rittner H, Uçeyler N, Trajanoski Z, Mouritzen P, Birklein F, Sommer C, Soreq H. (2013) microRNAs in nociceptive circuits as predictors of future clinical applications. Front Mol Neurosci. 17;6:33. [Review]

21.    Nockemann, D., Rouault, M., Labuz, D., Hublitz, P., McKnelly, K., Reis, F.C., Stein, C., and Heppenstall, P.A. (2013). The K(+) channel GIRK2 is both necessary and sufficient for peripheral opioid-mediated analgesia. EMBO molecular medicine 5, 1263-1277.

22.    Kalebic, N., Sorrentino, S., Perlas, E., Bolasco, G., Martinez, C., and Heppenstall, P.A. (2013). alphaTAT1 is the major alpha-tubulin acetyltransferase in mice. Nature communications 4, 1962.

23.    Batti, L., Mukhtarov, M., Audero, E., Ivanov, A., Paolicelli, O., Zurborg, S., Gross, C., Bregestovski, P., and Heppenstall, P.A. (2013). Transgenic mouse lines for non-invasive ratiometric monitoring of intracellular chloride. Frontiers in molecular neuroscience 6, 11.

24.    Wildner, H., Das Gupta, R., Brohl, D., Heppenstall, P.A., Zeilhofer, H.U., and Birchmeier, C. (2013). Genome-wide expression analysis of Ptf1a- and Ascl1-deficient mice reveals new markers for distinct dorsal horn interneuron populations contributing to nociceptive reflex plasticity. J Neurosci 33, 7299-7307.

25.    Kalebic N, Martinez C, Perlas E, Hublitz P, Bilbao-Cortes D, Fiedorczuk K, Andolfo A, Heppenstall PA (2013). Tubulin Acetyltransferase ?TAT1 Destabilizes Microtubules Independently of Its Acetylation Activity. Mol Cell Biol. 33(6):1114-23.

26.    Wang H, Schupp M, Zurborg A, Heppenstall PA (2013). Residues in the pore region of Drosophila TRPA1 dictate sensitivity to thermal stimuli. J Physiol. 591(Pt 1):185-201

27.    Lukinavi?ius G, Umezawa K, Olivier N, Honigmann A, Yang G, Plass T, Mueller V, Reymond L, Corrêa IR Jr, Luo ZG, Schultz C, Lemke EA, Heppenstall P, Eggeling C, Manley S, Johnsson K (2013). A near-infrared fluorophore for live-cell super-resolution microscopy of cellular proteins. Nat Chem. 5(2):132-9.

28.    Schmidt Y, Labuz D, Heppenstall PA, Machelska H (2012). Cutaneous nociceptors lack sensitisation, but reveal ?-opioid receptor-mediated reduction in excitability to mechanical stimulation in neuropathy. Mol Pain. 8:81.

29.    Liudmila Lapatsina, Julia A. Jira, Ewan St. J. Smith, Kate Poole, Alexey Kozlenkov, Daniel Bilbao, Gary R. Lewin, and Paul A. Heppenstall. Regulation of ASIC channels by a stomatin/STOML3 complex located in a mobile vesicle pool in sensory neurons. (2012) Open Bio 2:120096

30.    Topalidou I, Keller C, Kalebic N, Nguyen KC, Somhegyi H, Politi KA, Heppenstall P, Hall DH, Chalfie M. Genetically Separable Functions of the MEC-17 Tubulin Acetyltransferase Affect Microtubule Organization. (2012) Curr Biol 22(12):1057-65

31.    Zurborg S, Piszczek A, Martínez C, Hublitz P, Al Banchaabouchi M, Moreira P, Perlas P, Heppenstall PA. Generation and characterization of an Advillin-Cre driver mouse line.  (2011) Molecular Pain,7:66.

32.    Goswami C, Kuhn J, Heppenstall PA, Hucho T. Importance of non-selective cation channel TRPV4 interaction with cytoskeleton and their reciprocal regulations in cultured cells. (2010) PLoS One. 5(7):e11654

33.    Caspani O, Zurborg S, Labuz D, Heppenstall PA. The contribution of TRPM8 and TRPA1 channels to cold allodynia and neuropathic pain. (2009) PLoS One. 4(10):e7383

34.    Caspani O, Heppenstall PA. (2009) TRPA1 and cold transduction: an unresolved issue? J Gen Physiol. 33(3):245-9. [Review]

35.    Park TJ, Lu Y, Jüttner R, Smith ES, Hu J, Brand A, Wetzel C, Milenkovic N, Erdmann B, Heppenstall PA, Laurito CE, Wilson SP, Lewin GR. (2008)  Selective inflammatory pain insensitivity in the African naked mole-rat (Heterocephalus glaber). PLoS Biol. 6(1):e13.

36.    Zurborg S, Yurgionas B, Jira JA, Caspani O, Heppenstall PA. (2007) Direct activation of the ion channel TRPA1 by Ca2+. Nature Neuroscience. 10(3):277-9.

37.    Wetzel C, Hu J, Riethmacher D, Benckendorff A, Harder L, Eilers A, Moshourab R, Kozlenkov A, Labuz D, Caspani O, Erdmann B, Machelska H, Heppenstall PA, Lewin GR. (2007) A stomatin domain protein essential for touch sensation in the mouse. Nature 445(7124):206-9.

38.    Endres-Becker J, Heppenstall PA, Mousa SA, Labuz D, Oksche A, Schafer M, Stein C, Zollner C. (2007)  µ receptor activation modulates TRPV1 currents in sensory neurons in a model of inflammatory pain. Mol Pharmacol  71(1):12-8.

39.    Heppenstall PA, Lewin GR. (2006) A role for T-type Ca2+ channels in mechanosensation. Cell Calcium. 40(2):165-74 [Review]

40.    Hartmann B, Ahmadi S, Heppenstall PA, Lewin GR, Schott C, Borchardt T, Seeburg PH, Zeilhofer HU, Sprengel R, Kuner R. (2004) The AMPA receptor subunits GluR-A and GluR-B reciprocally modulate spinal synaptic plasticity and inflammatory pain. Neuron. 44(4):637-50.

41.    Machelska H, Heppenstall PA, Stein C. (2003) Breaking the pain barrier [comment]. Nat Med. 9(11):1353-4.

42.    Shin J, Martinez-Salgado C, Heppenstall PA, Lewin GR. (2003) A T-type calcium channel required for normal function of a mammalian mechanoreceptor. Nature Neuroscience 6(7):724-30.

43.    Schmidt H, Werner M, Heppenstall PA, Henning M, More M, Kühlbander S, Lewin GR, Hofmann F, Feil R, Rathjen FG. (2002) cGMP-mediated signaling via cGKIa is required for the guidance and connectivity of sensory axons. Journal of Cell Biology 159(3): 489-498. 

44.    Muller T, Brohmann H, Pierani A, Heppenstall PA, Lewin GR, Jessell TM, Birchmeier C (2002) The homeodomain factor lbx1 distinguishes two major programs of neuronal differentiation in the dorsal spinal cord. Neuron 34(4): 551-62.

45.    Heppenstall PA and Lewin GR (2001) BDNF but not NT-4 is required for normal flexion reflex plasticity and function. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 98(14): 8107-12

46.    Price MP, Lewin GR, McIlwrath SL, Cheng C,  Xie J, Heppenstall PA,  Stucky CL,  Mannsfeldt AG, Brennan TJ, Drummond HA, Qiao J,  Williamson RA,  Welsh MJ (2000) The Mammalian Na+ Channel BNC1 Is Required for Normal Touch Sensation. Nature 407 (6807): 1007-11.

47.    Heppenstall PA and Lewin GR (2000) Neurotrophins, nociceptors and pain. Current Opinion in Anesthesiology 13: 573-576. [Review]

48.    Pesquero JB, Araujo RC, Heppenstall PA, Stucky CL, Silva JA Jr, Walther T, Oliveira SM, Pesquero JL, Paiva AC, Calixto JB, Lewin GR, Bader M (2000). Hypoalgesia and altered inflammatory responses in mice lacking kinin B1 receptors. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 97(14):8140-5

49.    Heppenstall PA, SM Fleetwood-Walker, SWN Thompson, HJ Spiers (1997). LIF mRNA distribution in lumbar spinal cord and its modification by peripheral inflammation and nerve injury. J. Physiol 505: 42P-43P

50.    Heppenstall PA, Fleetwood-Walker SM (1997). Glycine receptor regulation of neurokinin1 receptor function in rat dorsal horn neurones. Neuroreport 8(14):3109-12.

51.    Heppenstall PA, Fleetwood-Walker SM (1997). The glycine site of the NMDA receptor contributes to neurokinin1 receptor agonist facilitation of NMDA receptor agonist-evoked activity in rat dorsal horn neurons. Brain Res. 744(2):235-45.

52.    Heppenstall PA, Fleetwood-Walker SM (1996). Mediators of tachykinin NMDA interactions in nociception. J. Physiol 495: S15