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Karl H. Pfenninger, MD

Professor of Pediatrics

Karl H. Pfenninger, MD Bio Page Image

Section of Clinical Genetics & Metabolism
Director, Colorado Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research Center (IDDRC)

Campus Box 8313
RC1 North, Room P18-4130
12800 E. 19th Avenue
Aurora, CO  80045

Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research Center 
University of Colorado Cancer Center
Neuroscience Program
Cell Biology, Stem Cells & Development Program

Medical Degree, University of Zurich Medical Faculty, Switzerland

Primary research interest: Cellular and molecular mechanisms of brain development and their perturbation in neuro-developmental disorders.

During nervous system development neurons generate long processes (axons) that grow out to synapse with target cells and form neuronal networks. During outgrowth the axon is tipped with an amoeboid terminal enlargement, the growth cone. Growth cones play a crucial role in growth regulation, path finding, target cell recognition, and regeneration of the axon. Their roles in normal development and disease are at the center of the laboratory’s interests. Current studies are focused on cellular adhesive mechanisms of the growth cone.  Of particular interest is the role of amyloid precursor protein (APP) in growth cone function and in the pathogenesis of cognitive disability.



C.J. Herrick Award in Comparative Neurology
I.T. Hirschl Career Scientist Award, 1977
Senator Jacob Javits Neuroscience Investigator Awards (NIH), 1984 and 1991
R. Caputto Lectureship and Gold Medal, 2004, Argentine Society for Neurochemistry

Publications in PubMed


Widnell, CC, Pfenninger KH, (1990) Essential Cell Biology, Williams & Wilkins (Baltimore, Maryland, USA)

Pfenninger, KH, Shubik, VR (2001) The Origins of Creativity, Oxford University Press (Oxford, UK)