Standardbilder: MDC Laborkittel

Salim Seyfried

Dr. Salim Seyfried (Photo: David Ausserhofer/ Copyright: MDC)

Max-Delbrück-Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC)

Robert-Rössle-Str. 10

13125 Berlin, Germany

Phone: +49 30 9406 2337

FAX:    +49 30 9406 2110


Vertebrate organs are derived from epithelial sheets of cells that undergo complex morphogenetic transformations. The Seyfried lab studies the early zebrafish heart, a relatively simple organ compared with its mammalian counterpart, to better understand the signaling events that instruct the assembly of the early heart tube. Inititally, this organ consists of only the outer myocardial and inner endocardial cell layers. The group would like to understand: What are the signals that regulate the morphogenesis of myocardiuim and endocardium? To what extent do these two tissues communicate during cardiac jogging and looping morphogenesis? What determines the differentiation of endocardium into its different morphological derivatives such as cushion cells? In collaboration with clinical researchers, the group uses developmental genetics combined with cell biological and pharmacological approaches to develop animal models for human cardiovascular diseases. The group's long-term interest is to understand how the cellular mechanisms controlling zebrafish cardiogenesis shape the human heart and its associated blood vessels.

I have a strong interest in helping to establish the "TransCard" program. I believe that an interdisciplinary curriculum is essential for preparing the next generation of researchers to work in the field of translational medicine. My training expertise is in the fields of developmental genetics and cell biology.

Professional experience

Junior Group Leader | MDC

January 2002 - present

Developmental Genetics, Cell Biology, Functional Analysis of zebrafish mutants with defective cardiac morphogenesis

Education/ Training

Humboldt University Berlin

Habilitation "Cell Biology", 2010

UC San Francisco

Howard Hughes Postdoctoal Fellow with Prof. Yuh Nung Jan, 1997-2001

Max-Planck Institute for Biochemistry, Martinsried

Max-Planck Postdoctoral Research Fellow with Prof. Ralf Schnabel, 1997

Harvard Medical School, Boston

Research Fellow with Prof. Wolfgang Driever, 1993-1996- PhD degree

Eberhard-Karls University, Tübingen

Diploma student, Developmental Genetics, 1990-1993

University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology (UMIST)

Biochemistry and Molecular Biology program student, 1989-90

Heinrich-Heine University, Düsseldorf

Biology program student, 1987-1989



Selected 2008-2012

Cibrián Uhalte, E, Kirchner, M, Hellwig, N, Allen, JJ, Shokat, KM, Selbach, M, and Abdelilah-Seyfried, S (2012). In vivo conditions to identify Prkci phosphorylation targets using the analog-sensitive kinase method in zebrafish. PLoS One, in press.

Otten, C, van der Ven, P, Lewrenz, I, Sandeep, P, Busch-Nentwich, E, Eichhorst, J, Wiesner, B, Stemple, D, Strähle, U, Fürst, D, and Abdelilah-Seyfried S (2012). Xirp-associated rapid myocellular repair in zebrafish skeletal muscle cells. PLoS One 7, e31041

Zhang, J, Piontek, J, Wolburg, H, Piehl, C, Liss, M, Otten, C, Christ, A, Willnow, TE, Blasig, IE, and Abdelilah-Seyfried, S (2010). Establishment of a neuroepithelial barrier by Claudin5a is essential for zebrafish brain ventricular lumen expansion. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 107, 1425-1430.

Seipold, S, Priller,F, Goldsmith,P, Harris,B, Baier,H, and Abdelilah-Seyfried,S. (2009). Non-SMC condensin I complex proteins control chromosome segregation and survival of proliferating cells in the zebrafish neural retina. BMC Dev. Biol., 9, 40.

Hava, D, Förster, U, Matsuda, M, Chitnis, A, Link, B, and Abdelilah-Seyfried, S. (2009). Apical membrane maturation and cellular rosette formation during morphogenesis of the zebrafish lateral line. J. Cell Sci., 122, 687-695.

Bakkers,J, Verhoeven,M, and Abdelilah-Seyfried,S. (2009). Shaping the zebrafish heart: from left-right axis specification to epithelial tissue morphogenesis. Dev. Biol., 330, 213-220.

Lange M; Kaynak B; Forster UB; Toenjes M; Fischer JJ; Grimm C; Schlesinger J; Just S; Dunkel I; Krueger T; Mebus S; Lehrach H; Lurz R; Gobom J; Rottbauer W; Abdelilah-Seyfried S; Sperling S. (2008) Regulation of muscle development by DPF3, a novel histone acetylation and methylation reader of the BAF chromatin remodeling complex. Genes & Development 22 (17): 2370-2384

Hava D; Forster U; Matsuda M; Cui S; Link BA; Eichhorst J; Wiesner B; Chitnis A; Abdelilah-Seyfried S. (2008) Apical membrane maturation and cellular rosette formation during morphogenesis of the zebrafish lateral line. Journal of Cell Science 122, 687-695

Rohr,S, Otten,C, and Abdelilah-Seyfried,S. (2008). Asymmetric involution of the myocardial field drives heart tube formation in zebrafish, Circ. Res. 102, e12-19.

Bit-Avragim,N, Hellwig,N, Rudolph,F, Munson,C, Stainier,DY, Abdelilah-Seyfried,S. (2008). Divergent polarization mechanisms during vertebrate epithelial development mediated by the Crumbs complex protein Nagie oko, Journal of Cell Science 121 (Pt 15): 2503-2510.

Professional activities


German Research Foundation (DFG)

Fritz-Thyssen Foundation

German-Israeli Foundation for Research and Development (GIF)

National Science Foundation (NSF)

Ernst Schering Foundation

The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO)

Wellcome Trust

National Institutes of Health (NIH)

Developmental Cell, Nature Cell Biology, Circulation Research, Current Biology, Development, Dev Biol, JCB, JCS, Developmental Dynamics, Mechanisms of Development


Society of Neuroscience

American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)

Society of Genetics

European Life Scientist Organization (ELSO)

Member of “Faculty 1000 Biology”

Awards & Fellowships

Heisenberg Fellowship of the German Research Foundation (DFG), 2010-2015

Research Grant (MDC Clinical Research Cooperation Program): Characterization of potential disease genes involved in cerebrovascular pathologies, PIs: Seyfried/Vajkoczy, 2012-2014

Research Grant (DFG): Investigations on the roles of Claudins during zebrafish cardiovascular development, PI: Seyfried, 2012-2015

Research Grant (DFG): Genetics of endocardial-myocardial interactions during zebrafish heart development, PI: Seyfried, 2010-2013

Research Grant (DFG): Identification of phosphorylation targets of zebrafish aPKC using chemical genetics, PI: Seyfried, 2009-2012

Research Grant (DFG): Modulation der Claudinoligomerisierung zur Beeinflussung der Blut-Hirnschranke, PI: Seyfried, 2008-2011

Research Grant (Fritz Thyssen Foundation)

Genetics of endocardial tissue polarization and migration during cardiac cushion formation in zebrafish. 2008-2010 – PI Seyfried

EU FP6 funded Integrated Network TRANSFOG

Onco-Genomics: from cancer-oriented genomic screenings to new diagnostic tools and improved cancer treatment. 2004-2008

Founding member of the Helmholtz Virtual Institute “Berlin Institute for Heart Research” (HGF)

Congenital heart disease, translational and functional. 2004-2007

Research Grant (Volkswagen Foundation): Transposable element-mediated conditional loss-of-function and gain-of-function mutagenesis in zebrafish. 2003-2006 – PI Seyfried

Research Grant (DFG): Lipid sorting and formation of distinct plasma membrane domains during cell polarization in Drosophila. 2002-2004 - PI Seyfried

Postdoctoral Fellowship (DFG): Postdoctoral Research Fellow with Prof. Yuh Nung Jan

Postdoctoral Fellowship (Howard Hughes): Postdoctoral Research Fellow with Prof. Yuh Nung Jan

Postdoctoral Fellowship (Max-Planck Society Fellowship): Postdoctoral Research Fellow with Prof. Ralf Schnabel, Max Planck Institute for Biochemistry


“Methods of Zebrafish Genetics”, Humboldt University

Advanced Lab Course, 2005

PhD lecture series, MDC-Berlin

Co-Organizer of the weekly lecture series “Molecular Medicine”; International PhD Program MDC/Humboldt University Berlin „Molecular Cell Biology“, 2002-present

Lecture Series: “Molecular Mechanisms of Cell Polarity and Migration”, Humboldt University

Lecture series, 2004

Advanced Seminars, Humboldt University


PhD training

Supervision of 12 PhD students (8 graduated 2003 – present)


Additional skills

  • Organization of scientific meetings and retreats.
  • Computing (Web- and graphics design, office suite)

Languages (English – fluent; French - basic)

Advisory Board Member of Imaging Core Facility of the Max-Delbrück-Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC)