Bogdan K. Beirowski MD, PhD

Bogdan Beirowski

Bogdan K. Beirowski

Assistant Professor of Biochemistry, Principal Investigator at the Institute for Myelin and Glia Exploration

Department of Biochemistry

Jacobs School of Medicine & Biomedical Sciences

Specialty/Research Focus

Apoptosis and cell death; Bioinformatics; Metabolism; Molecular and Cellular Biology; Molecular Basis of Disease; Molecular genetics; Neurobiology

Contact Information
Institute for Myelin and Glia Exploration
NYS Center Of Excellence in Bioinformatics & Life Sciences
Buffalo, New York 14203
Phone: (716) 888-4883

Professional Summary:

My laboratory studies the cell-autonomous and non-cell-autonomous mechanisms of axon degeneration, a process akin to programmed cell death. In other words, we are attempting to elucidate what causes axon breakdown from within neurons and which external (glial) events trigger axon loss. Degeneration of axons is a hallmark in many neurodegenerative conditions, including those associated with abnormal glia. We have great hope that understanding why and how axons degenerate may lead to more efficient neuroprotective therapies tailored specifically to support axons and their surrounding glia.

Axons are the longest cellular projections of neurons relaying electrical and biochemical signals in nerves and white-matter tracts of the nervous system. As such, they are critical for neuronal wiring and transport of neuronal maintenance signals. Because of their incredible length and energetic demand (human motor neurons can be one meter long), however, axons are very vulnerable and at continuous risk of damage. Axons do not exist in isolation but are inextricably and intimately associated with their enwrapping glia (Schwann cells and oligodendrocytes) to form a unique axon-glia unit.

The most relevant neurological symptoms in a number of debilitating neurodegenerative conditions are due to compromised axon integrity. Thus, neuroprotective therapies promoting axon stability have great potential for more effective treatment. Recent studies indicate that axonal degeneration, at least in experimental settings, is an active and highly regulated process akin to programmed cell death (‘axonal auto-destruction’). Moreover, it is increasingly realized that axonal maintenance relies not only on neuron-derived provisions but also on trophic support from their enwrapping glia. The mechanism for this non-cell-autonomous support function remains unknown, but emerging evidence indicates that it is distinct from the glial role in insulating axons with myelin.

We are pursuing the intriguing question of whether abolished support by aberrant delivery of metabolites and other trophic factors from glia into axons is mechanistically linked to the induction of axonal auto-destruction. This concept is supported by our recent finding that metabolic dysregulation exclusively in Schwann cells is sufficient to trigger axon breakdown.

Education and Training:

  • PhD, Molecular Biology, University of Cambridge (2010)
  • Medicine, University of Cologne (2005)


  • Assistant Professor, Department of Biochemistry, Hunter James Kelly Research Institute (2016-present)
  • Post Doctoral Fellow, Department of Genetics, Washington University School of Medicine (2010–2016)

Grants and Sponsored Research:

  • August 2021–June 2026
    Energizing and protecting axons through metabolic coupling to Schwann cells.
    Role: Co-Investigator
  • February 2020–December 2024
    Elucidating the trophic support of long axons by metabolic signaling in oligodendrocytes
    Role: Principal Investigator
  • June 2021–June 2022
    An innovative instrument cluster for the integrative behavioral analysis of mouse mutants with perturbed neuronal connectivity
    Role: Principal Investigator
  • August 2018–January 2022
    Deciphering metabolic support of axons by LKB1 signaling in Schwann cells
    Muscular Dystrophy Association
    Role: Principal Investigator
  • August 2012–July 2015
    Modeling Axon Loss in CMT by Disruption of Schwann Cell Metabolic Regulation
    Muscular Dystrophy Association
    Role: Principal Investigator

Journal Articles:

See all (30 more)

Professional Memberships:

  • Federation of European Neuroscience Societies (FENS); Membership (2009–present)
  • German Neuroscience Society (NWG); Membership (2009–present)


  • "Regulation of axon stability by metabolic coupling to Schwann cells" seminar, Charcot-Marie-Tooth Association (2021)
  • "Regulation of axon integrity by axoglial metabolic coupling" El Club de la glía, Facultad de Medicina, Universidad de Buenos Aires – Argentinia (2021)
  • "Regulation of axon stability by axoglial metabolic coupling" seminar, Weill Cornell Medicine, Burke Neurological Institute (2021)
  • "Regulation of axon integrity by axoglial metabolic coupling" Peripheral Nerve Society (PNS) Annual Meeting (2021)
  • "Regulation of axon stability by axoglial metabolic coupling" Biogen Discovery Seminar, Biogen (2021)
  • "Regulation of axon stability by axoglial metabolic coupling" Seminar, Philips University of Marburg (2021)

Service Activities:

  • Department of Defense (DoD) Regeneration and Remyelination-1 (RR-1) peer review panel FY21 Multiple Sclerosis Research Program (MSRP); Grant Reviewer (2021)
  • NIH grant review study section ‚Biomedical Imaging and Metabolism Instrumentation S10 Grant Programs‘; Grant Reviewer (2021)
  • Frontiers in Neuroscience; Associate Editor (2021–present)
  • Nutrients; Editorial Board Member (2020–present)
  • ; PhD Program in the Biomedical Sciences (PPBS) Admissions Committee member, secondary (2018–2019)
  • ; Collegiate Science & Technology Entry Program (CSTEP) Summer Research Program for underrepresented students, poster judge for CSTEP Annual Symposium (2018)
  • ; Review Committee member (chaired by Kenneth Tramposch), University IMPACT LIFE SCIENCES grant program (2017–2018)
  • Neural Regeneration Research; Editorial Board Member (2017–present)
  • ; Department of Biochemistry Faculty Council member (2015–present)
  • Ad hoc reviewer for 'Nature', 'Nature Neuroscience', 'Nature Aging', 'Nature Communications', 'Journal of Experimetal Medicine', 'Cell Reports', 'eLife', ‚PLOS Biology‘, 'Science Signaling', 'Neurotherapeutics', 'Neurobiology of Disease', 'Glia', 'BMC Biology', 'Journal of Neuroscience' (approx. 20 reviewed manuscripts since 2007), 'Molecular Neurobiology', 'Frontiers in Neuroscience', 'Journal of Neurochemistry', 'Nutrients', 'Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience', 'Biomolecules', 'Experimental Neurology', 'Brain Communications', Neuropharmacology', 'Scientific Reports', 'Neural Regeneration Research', 'International Journal for Molecular Sciences', 'Neuroendocrinology', 'PLOS One', 'Journal of Biomolecular Structure and Dynamics', 'Journal of Anatomy', 'Molecular Biology Reports', 'ISRN Neuroscience', 'BBA Molecular Basis of Disease', 'FEBS Letters', 'Neuroscience Letters'. 'JoVE', 'Current Drug Research Reviews' (2007–present)

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Contact Information

Institute for Myelin and Glia Exploration
NYS Center Of Excellence in Bioinformatics & Life Sciences
Buffalo, New York 14203
Phone: (716) 888-4883