Professor Tim Czopka (Wellcome Trust Senior Research Fellow)

Chair of Glial Cell Biology

  • Centre for Clinical Brain Sciences

Contact details



Chancellor's Building
Edinburgh BioQuarter
49 Little France Crescent

Post code
EH16 4SB


I studied Biology and obtained my PhD in Neuroscience in 2009 from the Ruhr-University Bochum (Germany). Following my postdoctoral research at the University of Edinburgh (UK), I became a Principal Investigator in 2015 at the Technical University of Munich (Germany). In 2020 my group moved to University of Edinburgh (UK).

Responsibilities & affiliations

CMVM Research Staff Champion

Open to PhD supervision enquiries?


Current PhD students supervised

- Emma Dumble (2022 onwards)

- Patricia Bispo (2021 onwards)

Past PhD students supervised

- Roberta Marisca (2016-2021, PhD student at Technical University of Munich). Now postdoctoral researcher at BioMedX (Heidelberg)

- Stavros Vagionitis (2016-2021, PhD student at Technical University of Munich). Now postdoctoral researcher with Ragnhildur Karadottir (University of Cambridge)

- Tobias Hoche (2015-2020, PhD student at Technical University of Munich)

- Franziska Auer (2015-2019, PhD student at Technical University of Munich). Now postdoctoral researcher with David Schoppik (NYU Langone, USA)

Research summary

We aim to understand how oligodendrocytes communicate with neurons, and how these interactions affect the brain.

About 5% of all brain cells are undifferentiated oligodendrocyte precursor cells which tile the brain throughout life. These cells sense nervous system activity and represent the cellular source for new myelin during long-term development, plastic adaptations, and CNS regeneration. However, there are many more oligodendrocyte precursors than ever differentiate, but which still constantly communicate with surrounding neurons and other CNS cells. How this cell population can be triggered to produce new myelin, and how the non-myelinating oligoendrocytes affect nervous system function, remains unclear. 

To address this, we use zebrafish as model organism and a wide range of complementary methods including high-resolution optical microscopy of live cell reporters, optophysiology and biomolecular sensor imaging,  cellular genetic manipulations, and behavioural analysis.

Current team members

  • Dr Laura Hoodless (Lab Manager / Research Technician)
  • Dr Lian Hollander (Postdoctoral Researcher)
  • Dr Nicola Porter (Postdoctoral Researcher)
  • Dr Lucy Wheatley (Postdoctoral Researcher)
  • Denis Yuan (PhD student, Research Assistant)
  • Emma Dumble (PhD student)
  • Patricia Bispo (PhD student)

Former team members

  • Dr Yan Xiao, postdoc (now postdoc at DZNE Munich, group of Mikael Simons)

  • Dr Franziska Auer, PhD student (now postdoc and NYU Langone, group of David Schoppik)

  • Dr Tobias Hoche, PhD student

  • Dr Stavros Vagionitis, PhD student (now postdoc at University of Cambridge, group of Ragnhildur Karadottir)

  • Dr Roberta Marisca, PhD student (now postdoc at BioMedX, Heidelberg)

  • Zoë Speirs, research assistant (now PhD student at University of Sheffield, group of Phil Elks)

  • Ms Wenke Barkey (research technician)


  • Gonçalo Castelo Branco (Karolinska Institutet, Sweden)
  • Hernán Lopez-Schier (Helmholtz Zentrum München, Germany)
  • Ruben Portugues (Technical University of Munich, Germany)

Current project grants

- Wellcome Trust Senior Research Fellowship (03/2022-02/2027)
- BBSRC Responsive Mode Project Grant (01/2022-12/2024)

Past project grants

- ERC Starting Grant (02/2017 - 08/2022)
- Wellcome/University of Edinburgh ISSF3 (03/2021 - 12/2021)
- Project grant - Collaborative Research Cluster CRC870 "Assembly and Function of Neuronal Circuits" (Technical University of Munich, 2018-2021)
- Collaborative research funding as Associate PI in the DFG cluster of excellence “Systems Neurology - SyNergy” (Technical University of Munich, 2016-2020)
- Emmy Noether PI Fellowship of the German Research Foundation (Technical University of Munich, 2015-2020)
- EMBO long-term postdoctoral fellowship (2012 - 2014)

View all 26 publications on Research Explorer