Professor Robin Franklin

Robin Franklin

University position


Professor Robin Franklin is pleased to consider applications from prospective PhD students.


Department of Clinical Neurosciences


Wellcome Trust-MRC Cambridge Stem Cell Institute


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Research Themes

Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience

Developmental Neuroscience


Robin Franklin is Professor of Stem Cell Medicine and Head of Translational Science at the Wellcome Trust-MRC Cambridge Stem Cell Institute. His lab works on the mechanisms of CNS regeneration with a particular focus on remyelination, an adult stem/precursor cell-mediated process in which new myelin sheaths are restored to demyelinated axons. Using a wide range of in vitro and in vivo models, we are examining extrinsic (environmental) and intrinsic (transcriptional, epigenetic) factors that govern the differentiation of adult neural stem cells into oligodendrocytes and other glia following CNS injury. Robin Franklin is also Director of the MS Society Cambridge Centre for Myelin Repair.

Olig2 neural stem/precursor cells expressing an inducible green marker gene within an area of experimentally-induced CNS demyelination
Olig2 neural stem/precursor cells expressing an inducible green marker gene within an area of experimentally-induced CNS demyelination
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Research Focus


stem cells





Clinical conditions

Multiple sclerosis

Spinal cord injury


Animal models

Cell culture

Confocal microscopy

Fluorescence microscopy





Kevin Brindle

Kevin Chalut

Ragnhildur Karadottir

Mark Kotter

Chao Zhao

United Kingdom

Charles ffrench-Constant Web:

Jochen Guck Web:

David Lyons Web:

Bill Richardson Web:


Patrizia Casaccia Web:

Catherine Lubetzki Web:

David Rowitch Web:

Ueli Suter Web:

Amy Wagers Web:

Key publications

Miron VE, Boyd A, Zhao JW, Yuen TJ, Ruckh JM, Shadrach JL, van Wijngaarden P, Wagers AJ, Williams A, Franklin RJ, ffrench-Constant C (2013), “M2 microglia and macrophages drive oligodendrocyte differentiation during CNS remyelination.” Nat Neurosci 16(9):1211-8 Details

Ruckh JM, Zhao JW, Shadrach JL, van Wijngaarden P, Rao TN, Wagers AJ, Franklin RJM (in press), “Rejuvenation of regeneration in the aging central nervous system” Cell Stem Cell

Fancy SPJ, Harington EP, Yuen TJ, Silbereis JC, Zhao C, Baranzini SE, Bruce CE, Otero JJ, Huang EC, Nusse R, Franklin RJM, Rowitch RH (in press), “Axin2 as regulatory and therapeutic target in newborn brain injury and remyelination” Nature Neuroscience 14: 1009-1016

Huang JK, Jarjour AA, Nait Oumesmar B, Kerninon C, Williams A, Krezel W, Kagechika H, Bauer J, Zhao C, Baron-Van Evercooren A, Chambon P, ffrench- Constant C, Franklin RJM (2011), “Retinoid X receptor gamma signaling accelerates CNS remyelination” Nature Neurosci 14: 45-53

Zawadzka M, Rivers LE, Fancy SPJ, Zhao C, Tripathi R, Jamen F, Young K, Goncharevich A, Pohl H, Rizzi M, Rowitch DH, Kessaris N, Suter U, Richardosn WD, Franklin RJM (2010), “CNS-resident glial progenitor/stem cells prodcude Schwann cells as well as oligodendrocytes during repair of CNS demyelination” Cell Stem Cell 6: 578-590

Fancy SP, Baranzini SE, Zhao C, Yuk DI, Irvine KA, Kaing S, Sanai N, Franklin RJ, Rowitch DH (2009), “Dysregulation of the Wnt pathway inhibits timely myelination and remyelination in the mammalian CNS.” Genes Dev 23(13):1571-85 Details

Franklin RJM, ffrench-Constant C (2008), “Remyelination in the CNS: from biology to therapy” Nature Rev Neurosci 9(11): 839-55

Shen S, Sandoval J, Swiss V, Li J, Dupree J, Franklin RJM, Casaccia-Bonnefil P (2008), “Age-dependent epigenetic control of differentiation inhibitors: a critical determinant of remyelination efficiency” Nature Neurosci 11: 1024-1034.

Arnett HA, Fancy SPJ, Alberta JA, Zhao C, Plant SR, Som S, Raine CS, Rowitch D, Franklin RJM, Stiles CD (2004), “The bHLH transcription factor Olig1 is required for repair of demyelinated lesions in the CNS” Science 306:2111-2115



Franklin RJ, Gallo V (2014), “The translational biology of remyelination: Past, present, and future.” Glia Details

Granger N, Franklin RJ, Jeffery ND (2014), “Cell Therapy for Spinal Cord Injuries: What Is Really Going on?” Neuroscientist Details

Miron VE, Franklin RJ (2014), “Macrophages and CNS Remyelination.” J Neurochem Details

Montani L, Buerki-Thurnherr T, de Faria JP, Pereira JA, Dias NG, Fernandes R, Gonçalves AF, Braun A, Benninger Y, Böttcher RT, Costell M, Nave KA, Franklin RJ, Meijer D, Suter U, Relvas JB (2014), “Profilin 1 is required for peripheral nervous system myelination.” Development 141(7):1553-61 Details


Camacho A, Huang JK, Delint-Ramirez I, Yew Tan C, Fuller M, Lelliott CJ, Vidal-Puig A, Franklin RJ (2013), “Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma-coactivator-1 alpha coordinates sphingolipid metabolism, lipid raft composition and myelin protein synthesis.” Eur J Neurosci 38(5):2672-83 Details

Crawford AH, Chambers C, Franklin RJ (2013), “Remyelination: the true regeneration of the central nervous system.” J Comp Pathol 149(2-3):242-54 Details

Franklin RJ, Bussey TJ (2013), “Do your glial cells make you clever?” Cell Stem Cell 12(3):265-6 Details

Hampton DW, Serio A, Pryce G, Al-Izki S, Franklin RJ, Giovannoni G, Baker D, Chandran S (2013), “Neurodegeneration progresses despite complete elimination of clinical relapses in a mouse model of multiple sclerosis.” Acta Neuropathol Commun 1(1):84 Details

Kazanis I, Gorenkova N, Zhao JW, Franklin RJ, Modo M, Ffrench-Constant C (2013), “The late response of rat subependymal zone stem and progenitor cells to stroke is restricted to directly affected areas of their niche.” Exp Neurol 248:387-97 Details

Lange S, Trost A, Tempfer H, Bauer HC, Bauer H, Rohde E, Reitsamer HA, Franklin RJ, Aigner L, Rivera FJ (2013), “Brain pericyte plasticity as a potential drug target in CNS repair.” Drug Discov Today 18(9-10):456-63 Details

Lundgaard I, Luzhynskaya A, Stockley JH, Wang Z, Evans KA, Swire M, Volbracht K, Gautier HO, Franklin RJ, Charles Ffrench-Constant, Attwell D, Káradóttir RT (2013), “Neuregulin and BDNF induce a switch to NMDA receptor-dependent myelination by oligodendrocytes.” PLoS Biol 11(12):e1001743 Details

Stacpoole SR, Spitzer S, Bilican B, Compston A, Karadottir R, Chandran S, Franklin RJ (2013), “High yields of oligodendrocyte lineage cells from human embryonic stem cells at physiological oxygen tensions for evaluation of translational biology.” Stem Cell Reports 1(5):437-50 Details

Stacpoole SR, Webber DJ, Bilican B, Compston A, Chandran S, Franklin RJ (2013), “Neural precursor cells cultured at physiologically relevant oxygen tensions have a survival advantage following transplantation.” Stem Cells Transl Med 2(6):464-72 Details

Stoffels JM, de Jonge JC, Stancic M, Nomden A, van Strien ME, Ma D, Sisková Z, Maier O, Ffrench-Constant C, Franklin RJ, Hoekstra D, Zhao C, Baron W (2013), “Fibronectin aggregation in multiple sclerosis lesions impairs remyelination.” Brain 136(Pt 1):116-31 Details

Syed YA, Baer A, Hofer MP, González GA, Rundle J, Myrta S, Huang JK, Zhao C, Rossner MJ, Trotter MW, Lubec G, Franklin RJ, Kotter MR (2013), “Inhibition of phosphodiesterase-4 promotes oligodendrocyte precursor cell differentiation and enhances CNS remyelination.” EMBO Mol Med 5(12):1918-34 Details

van Wijngaarden P, Franklin RJ (2013), “Ageing stem and progenitor cells: implications for rejuvenation of the central nervous system.” Development 140(12):2562-75 Details

Vanhaesebrouck AE, Bhatti SF, Franklin RJ, Van Ham L (2013), “Myokymia and neuromyotonia in veterinary medicine: a comparison with peripheral nerve hyperexcitability syndrome in humans.” Vet J 197(2):153-62 Details

Yuen TJ, Johnson KR, Miron VE, Zhao C, Quandt J, Harrisingh MC, Swire M, Williams A, McFarland HF, Franklin RJ, Ffrench-Constant C (2013), “Identification of endothelin 2 as an inflammatory factor that promotes central nervous system remyelination.” Brain 136(Pt 4):1035-47 Details


Chong SY, Rosenberg SS, Fancy SP, Zhao C, Shen YA, Hahn AT, McGee AW, Xu X, Zheng B, Zhang LI, Rowitch DH, Franklin RJ, Lu QR, Chan JR (2012), “Neurite outgrowth inhibitor Nogo-A establishes spatial segregation and extent of oligodendrocyte myelination.” Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 109(4):1299-304 Details

Coutts DJ, Humphries CE, Zhao C, Plant GW, Franklin RJ (2012), “Embryonic-derived olfactory ensheathing cells remyelinate focal areas of spinal cord demyelination more efficiently than neonatal or adult derived cells.” Cell Transplant Details

Franklin RJ, ffrench-Constant C, Edgar JM, Smith KJ (2012), “Neuroprotection and repair in multiple sclerosis.” Nat Rev Neurol 8(11):624-34 Details

Granger N, Blamires H, Franklin RJ, Jeffery ND (2012), “Autologous olfactory mucosal cell transplants in clinical spinal cord injury: a randomized double-blinded trial in a canine translational model.” Brain 135(Pt 11):3227-37 Details

Hampton DW, Innes N, Merkler D, Zhao C, Franklin RJ, Chandran S (2012), “Focal immune-mediated white matter demyelination reveals an age-associated increase in axonal vulnerability and decreased remyelination efficiency.” Am J Pathol 180(5):1897-905 Details

Huang JK, Ferrari CC, Monteiro de Castro G, Lafont D, Zhao C, Zaratin P, Pouly S, Greco B, Franklin RJ (2012), “Accelerated axonal loss following acute CNS demyelination in mice lacking protein tyrosine phosphatase receptor type Z.” Am J Pathol 181(5):1518-23 Details

Huang JK, Franklin RJ (2012), “Current status of myelin replacement therapies in multiple sclerosis.” Prog Brain Res 201:219-31 Details

Jagielska A, Norman AL, Whyte G, Vliet KJ, Guck J, Franklin RJ (2012), “Mechanical environment modulates biological properties of oligodendrocyte progenitor cells.” Stem Cells Dev 21(16):2905-14 Details

Kipp M, Victor M, Martino G, Franklin RJ (2012), “Endogeneous Remyelination: Findings in Human Studies.” CNS Neurol Disord Drug Targets Details

Tanaka M, Soma K, Izawa T, Yamate J, Franklin RJ, Kuramoto T, Serikawa T, Kuwamura M (2012), “Abnormal myelinogenesis in the central nervous system of the VF mutant rat with recoverable tremor.” Brain Res 1488:104-12 Details


Fancy SP, Chan JR, Baranzini SE, Franklin RJ, Rowitch DH (2011), “Myelin regeneration: a recapitulation of development?” Annu Rev Neurosci 34:21-43 Details

Huang JK, Fancy SP, Zhao C, Rowitch DH, Ffrench-Constant C, Franklin RJ (2011), “Myelin regeneration in multiple sclerosis: targeting endogenous stem cells.” Neurotherapeutics 8(4):650-8 Details

Huang JK, Franklin RJ (2011), “Regenerative medicine in multiple sclerosis: Identifying pharmacological targets of adult neural stem cell differentiation.” Neurochem Int Details

Huang JK, Jarjour AA, Ffrench-Constant C, Franklin RJ (2011), “Retinoid X receptors as a potential avenue for regenerative medicine in multiple sclerosis.” Expert Rev Neurother 11(4):467-8 Details

Kuwamura M, Inumaki K, Tanaka M, Shirai M, Izawa T, Yamate J, Franklin RJ, Kuramoto T, Serikawa T (2011), “Oligodendroglial pathology in the development of myelin breakdown in the dmy mutant rat.” Brain Res 1389:161-8 Details

Pohl HB, Porcheri C, Mueggler T, Bachmann LC, Martino G, Riethmacher D, Franklin RJ, Rudin M, Suter U (2011), “Genetically induced adult oligodendrocyte cell death is associated with poor myelin clearance, reduced remyelination, and axonal damage.” J Neurosci 31(3):1069-80 Details

Stacpoole SR, Bilican B, Webber DJ, Luzhynskaya A, He XL, Compston A, Karadottir R, Franklin RJ, Chandran S (2011), “Derivation of neural precursor cells from human ES cells at 3% O(2) is efficient, enhances survival and presents no barrier to regional specification and functional differentiation.” Cell Death Differ 18(6):1016-23 Details

Stacpoole SR, Bilican B, Webber DJ, Luzhynskaya A, He XL, Compston A, Karadottir R, Franklin RJ, Chandran S (2011), “Efficient derivation of NPCs, spinal motor neurons and midbrain dopaminergic neurons from hESCs at 3% oxygen.” Nat Protoc 6(8):1229-40 Details


Barraud P, He X, Zhao C, Caldwell MA, Franklin RJ (2010), “FGF but not EGF induces phosphorylation of the cAMP response element binding protein in olfactory mucosa-derived cell cultures.” Exp Cell Res 316(9):1489-99 Details

Buckley CE, Marguerie A, Alderton WK, Franklin RJ (2010), “Temporal dynamics of myelination in the zebrafish spinal cord.” Glia 58(7):802-12 Details

Buckley CE, Marguerie A, Roach AG, Goldsmith P, Fleming A, Alderton WK, Franklin RJ (2010), “Drug reprofiling using zebrafish identifies novel compounds with potential pro-myelination effects.” Neuropharmacology Details

Christ AF, Franze K, Gautier H, Moshayedi P, Fawcett J, Franklin RJ, Karadottir RT, Guck J (2010), “Mechanical difference between white and gray matter in the rat cerebellum measured by scanning force microscopy.” J Biomech Details

Franklin RJ, Ffrench-Constant C (2010), “Stem cell treatments and multiple sclerosis.” BMJ 340:c1387 Details

Harrington EP, Zhao C, Fancy SP, Kaing S, Franklin RJ, Rowitch DH (2010), “Oligodendrocyte PTEN is required for myelin and axonal integrity, not remyelination.” Ann Neurol 68(5):703-16 Details

Izawa T, Yamate J, Franklin RJ, Kuwamura M (2010), “Abnormal iron accumulation is involved in the pathogenesis of the demyelinating dmy rat but not in the hypomyelinating mv rat.” Brain Res 1349:105-14 Details

Martino G, Franklin RJ, Van Evercooren AB, Kerr DA, Stem Cells in Multiple Sclerosis (STEMS) Consensus Group (2010), “Stem cell transplantation in multiple sclerosis: current status and future prospects.” Nat Rev Neurol 6(5):247-55 Details

Ziabreva I, Campbell G, Rist J, Zambonin J, Rorbach J, Wydro MM, Lassmann H, Franklin RJ, Mahad D (2010), “Injury and differentiation following inhibition of mitochondrial respiratory chain complex IV in rat oligodendrocytes.” Glia Details


Baer AS, Syed YA, Kang SU, Mitteregger D, Vig R, Ffrench-Constant C, Franklin RJ, Altmann F, Lubec G, Kotter MR (2009), “Myelin-mediated inhibition of oligodendrocyte precursor differentiation can be overcome by pharmacological modulation of Fyn-RhoA and protein kinase C signalling.” Brain 132(Pt 2):465-81 Details

Bruce CC, Zhao C, Franklin RJ (2009), “Remyelination - An effective means of neuroprotection.” Horm Behav Details

Mi S, Miller RH, Tang W, Lee X, Hu B, Wu W, Zhang Y, Shields CB, Zhang Y, Miklasz S, Shea D, Mason J, Franklin RJ, Ji B, Shao Z, Chédotal A, Bernard F, Roulois A, Xu J, Jung V, Pepinsky B (2009), “Promotion of central nervous system remyelination by induced differentiation of oligodendrocyte precursor cells.” Ann Neurol 65(3):304-15 Details


Anderson JM, Hampton DW, Patani R, Pryce G, Crowther RA, Reynolds R, Franklin RJ, Giovannoni G, Compston DA, Baker D, Spillantini MG, Chandran S (2008), “Abnormally phosphorylated tau is associated with neuronal and axonal loss in experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis and multiple sclerosis.” Brain 131(Pt 7):1736-48 Details

Barraud P, He X, Caldwell MA, Franklin RJ (2008), “Secreted factors from olfactory mucosa cells expanded as free-floating spheres increase neurogenesis in olfactory bulb neurosphere cultures.” BMC Neurosci 9:24 Details

Brinkmann, B. G., Agarwal, A., Serada, M. W., Garratt, A. N., Mueller, T., Wende, H., Stassart, R. M., Nawaz, S., Humml, C., Velanac, V., Radyuschkin, K., Goebbels, S., Fischer, T. M., Franklin, R. J. M., Lai, C., Ehrenreich, H., Birchmeier, C., Schwab, M. H., Nave, K. A. (2008), “Neuregulin-1/ErbB signaling serves distinct functions in myelination of the peripheral and central nervous system” Neuron 59 581-594

Buckley CE, Goldsmith P, Franklin RJ (2008), “Zebrafish myelination: a transparent model for remyelination?” Dis Model Mech 1(4-5):221-8 Details

Chandran S, Hunt D, Joannides A, Zhao C, Compston A, Franklin RJ (2008), “Myelin repair: the role of stem and precursor cells in multiple sclerosis.” Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci 363(1489):171-83 Details

Franklin RJ, Kotter MR (2008), “The biology of CNS remyelination: the key to therapeutic advances.” J Neurol 255 Suppl 1:19-25 Details

Hampton DW, Anderson J, Pryce G, Irvine KA, Giovannoni G, Fawcett JW, Compston A, Franklin RJ, Baker D, Chandran S (2008), “An experimental model of secondary progressive multiple sclerosis that shows regional variation in gliosis, remyelination, axonal and neuronal loss.” J Neuroimmunol 201-202:200-11 Details

Ito D, Fujita N, Ibanez C, Sasaki N, Franklin RJ, Jeffery ND (2008), “Serum-free medium provides a clinically relevant method to increase olfactory ensheathing cell numbers in olfactory mucosa cell culture.” Cell Transplant 16(10):1021-7 Details

Neumann H, Kotter MR, Franklin RJ (2008), “Debris clearance by microglia: an essential link between degeneration and regeneration.” Brain Details

Rist JM, Franklin RJ (2008), “Taking ageing into account in remyelination-based therapies for multiple sclerosis.” J Neurol Sci 274(1-2):64-7 Details

Zhao C, Fancy SP, ffrench-Constant C, Franklin RJ (2008), “Osteopontin is extensively expressed by macrophages following CNS demyelination but has a redundant role in remyelination.” Neurobiol Dis 31(2):209-17 Details

Zhao C, Zawadzka M, Roulois AJ, Bruce CC, Franklin RJ (2008), “Promoting remyelination in multiple sclerosis by endogenous adult neural stem/precursor cells: defining cellular targets.” J Neurol Sci 265(1-2):12-6 Details


Barraud P, He X, Zhao C, Ibanez C, Raha-Chowdhury R, Caldwell MA, Franklin RJ (2007), “Contrasting effects of basic fibroblast growth factor and epidermal growth factor on mouse neonatal olfactory mucosa cells.” Eur J Neurosci 26(12):3345-57 Details

Benninger Y, Thurnherr T, Pereira JA, Krause S, Wu X, Chrostek-Grashoff A, Herzog D, Nave KA, Franklin RJ, Meijer D, Brakebusch C, Suter U, Relvas JB (2007), “Essential and distinct roles for cdc42 and rac1 in the regulation of Schwann cell biology during peripheral nervous system development.” J Cell Biol 177(6):1051-61 Details

Bowen S, Ateh DD, Deinhardt K, Bird MM, Price KM, Baker CS, Robson JC, Swash M, Shamsuddin W, Kawar S, El-Tawil T, Roos J, Hoyle A, Nickols CD, Knowles CH, Pullen AH, Luthert PJ, Weller RO, Hafezparast M, Franklin RJ, Revesz T, King RH, Berninghausen O, Fisher EM, Schiavo G, Martin JE (2007), “The phagocytic capacity of neurones.” Eur J Neurosci 25(10):2947-55 Details

Hamilton L, Franklin RJ, Jeffery ND (2007), “Development of a universal measure of quadrupedal forelimb-hindlimb coordination using digital motion capture and computerised analysis.” BMC Neurosci 8:77 Details

Ibanez C, Ito D, Zawadzka M, Jeffery ND, Franklin RJ (2007), “Calponin is expressed by fibroblasts and meningeal cells but not olfactory ensheathing cells in the adult peripheral olfactory system.” Glia 55(2):144-51 Details

Skelly BJ, Franklin RJ (2007), “Mutations in genes causing human familial isolated hyperparathyroidism do not account for hyperparathyroidism in Keeshond dogs.” Vet J 174(3):652-4 Details

Woodhoo A, Sahni V, Gilson J, Setzu A, Franklin RJ, Blakemore WF, Mirsky R, Jessen KR (2007), “Schwann cell precursors: a favourable cell for myelin repair in the Central Nervous System.” Brain 130(Pt 8):2175-85 Details

Zawadzka M, Franklin RJ (2007), “Myelin regeneration in demyelinating disorders: new developments in biology and clinical pathology.” Curr Opin Neurol 20(3):294-8 Details


Benninger Y, Colognato H, Thurnherr T, Franklin RJ, Leone DP, Atanasoski S, Nave KA, Ffrench-Constant C, Suter U, Relvas JB (2006), “Beta1-integrin signaling mediates premyelinating oligodendrocyte survival but is not required for CNS myelination and remyelination.” J Neurosci 26(29):7665-73 Details

Dunning MD, Kettunen MI, Ffrench Constant C, Franklin RJ, Brindle KM (2006), “Magnetic resonance imaging of functional Schwann cell transplants labelled with magnetic microspheres.” Neuroimage 31(1):172-80 Details

Franklin RJ, Zhao C (2006), “Tyrosine kinases: maiming myelin in leprosy.” Nat Med 12(8):889-90 Details

Kotter MR, Li W-W, Chao Z, Franklin RJM (2006), “Myelin impairs CNS remyelination by inhibiting oligodendrocyte precursor cell differentiation” Journal of Neuroscience 26:328-332

Li WW, Penderis J, Zhao C, Schumacher M, Franklin RJ (2006), “Females remyelinate more efficiently than males following demyelination in the aged but not young adult CNS.” Exp Neurol 202(1):250-4 Details

Ligon KL, Fancy SP, Franklin RJ, Rowitch DH (2006), “Olig gene function in CNS development and disease.” Glia 54(1):1-10 Details

Setzu A, Lathia JD, Zhao C, Wells K, Rao MS, Ffrench-Constant C, Franklin RJ (2006), “Inflammation stimulates myelination by transplanted oligodendrocyte precursor cells.” Glia 54(4):297-303 Details

Thurnherr T, Benninger Y, Wu X, Chrostek A, Krause SM, Nave KA, Franklin RJ, Brakebusch C, Suter U, Relvas JB (2006), “Cdc42 and Rac1 signaling are both required for and act synergistically in the correct formation of myelin sheaths in the CNS.” J Neurosci 26(40):10110-9 Details


Dunning MD, Lakatos A, Loizou L, Kettunen M, ffrench-Constant C, Brindle KM, Franklin RJM (2004), “Superparamagnetic iron oxide (SPIO)-labelled Schwann cells and olfactory ensheathing cells can be traced in vivo by magnetic resonance imaging and retain functional properties following transplantation into the CNS” Journal of Neuroscience 24:9799-9810