Casper Hoogenraad

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Casper Hoogenraad
Born (1973-01-31) January 31, 1973 (age 51)
Delft,The Netherlands
CitizenshipThe Netherlands
Alma materUtrecht University
Known forMolecular Neuroscience
Scientific career
FieldsNeuroscience, Cell Biology, Molecular Biology
  • Erasmus University
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Utrecht University
  • Genentech
Doctoral advisor
  • Frank Grosveld
  • Chris De Zeeuw
Other academic advisorsMorgan Sheng

Casper Hoogenraad is a Dutch Cell Biologist who specializes in Molecular Neuroscience. The focus of his research is to understand the basic molecular and cellular mechanisms that regulate the development and function of the brain. As of January 2020, he serves as Vice President of Neuroscience at Genentech Research and Early Development in South San Francisco, California. In this role, he is head of the Neuroscience Department and oversees all of Genentech’s Neuroscience disease research programs. Prior to joining Genentech, he was full Professor of Molecular Neuroscience and served as Chair of the Cell Biology, Neurobiology and Biophysics Division at Utrecht University, The Netherlands.

Biography and research

Casper Hoogenraad was born in 1973 in Delft and grew up in Gouda, in the western part of The Netherlands. He received his Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Biochemistry and Master of Science (M.S.) in Molecular Biology from Utrecht University, and his doctorate in Cell Biology from the Erasmus University Rotterdam.[1] From 1996 until 2001, he worked as a PhD student in Niels Galjart's laboratorium in the Department of Cell Biology which Frank Grosveld headed; his research mainly focused on the identification and characterization of microtubule plus-end tracking proteins, such as CLIPs and CLASPs[2], and regulators of intracellular trafficking, including Bicaudal D (BICD).[3] He found that evolutionary conserved Bicaudal D family members are key regulators of cytoplasmic dynein, the molecular motor responsible for minus-end directed microtubule-based transport.[4] The work on microtubule plus-end tracking proteins and Bicaudal D was done in close collaboration with Anna Akhmanova, a postdoc at that time, in the Department of Cell Biology. In 2011, Akhmanova and Hoogenraad resumed their research collaboration by moving their laboratories to Utrecht University.

In 2002, Hoogenraad began his post-doctoral research at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, USA in the laboratory of Morgan Sheng where he worked on the role of synaptic scaffolding proteins in regulating neurotransmitter receptor trafficking.[5] In 2005, Hoogenraad moved back to the Netherlands and joined the faculty of the Erasmus University Medical Center in Rotterdam as an Associate Professor in the Department of Neuroscience,[6] where he pioneered studies addressing how cytoskeletal organization and intracellular transport underlies neuronal polarity, brain development and synapse function. In 2011 he joined Utrecht University as full Professor of Molecular Neuroscience, and served as Chair of Cell Biology, Biophysics and Neurobiology.[7] He was a member of the Institute of Biodynamics and Biocomplexity,[8] associated member of the Bijvoet Centre for Biomolecular Research[9] and managing director of Science for Life in Utrecht from 2013-2017.[10] Throughout his career, he discovered new molecular mechanisms and cell biological processes and that control cytoskeleton remodeling and cargo trafficking during the development and function of the brain. Work from his lab has characterized in detail the cytoskeleton and transport events required to build a polarized neuron, including the early development stages of axon formation and neuronal polarization,[11][12] assembly of the axon initial segment[13] and spine plasticity.[14] Hoogenraad has also contributed to the development of new molecular methods and imaging tools to study intracellular dynamics in living cells.[15][16]

Hoogenraad was recruited to Genentech, a member of the Roche Group, as the head of Research Neuroscience to replace Morgan Sheng[17]. He continues his basic research as Staff Scientist at Genentech to study the biological mechanisms of brain diseases and aims to translate these findings into potential therapies for neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and multiple sclerosis (MS).[18] As of January 2020, he serves as Vice President of Neuroscience at Genentech Research and Early Development, where he creates and advances the Neuroscience portfolio.[19]

Science outreach

Hoogenraad is actively involved in promoting public awareness and understanding of basic science. In 2013, his laboratory made an animation movie, named 'A Day in the Life of a Motor Protein', which has received >1 million views on youtube.[20] During this short five-minute movie, we follow John, a motor protein, who has to transport a large package through the narrow streets in the city of Utrecht, illustrating the importance and challenges of intracellular transport.

Honours and awards

Hoogenraad is the recipient of numerous awards, including the European Young Investigators award, VICI award from the Dutch Research Council and Consolidator grant from the European Research Council.[21] He is an elected member of the European Molecular Biology Organization (2015),[22] ‘The Young Academy’ of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Sciences (2011),[23] Young Academy of Europe (2015).[24] In 2016 he became the 10th recipient of the IBRO-Kemali International Prize, awarded every two years, to honor eminent scientists who have made outstanding contributions in the field of basic and clinical Neuroscience.[25] Hoogenraad has authored more than 200 peer-reviewed scientific publications,[26] is regularly invited as speaker and chairman at numerous international research conferences and serves on the several editorial boards, including Neuron.[27] He has served on various scientific advisory committees, including the National Research Council of the Netherlands, France and UK. He is a member of the American Society for Cell Biology (ASCB) Governing Council and serves on the advisory boards of academic, government, and biotech organizations.

Listed are some of the award:

  • 2002 Dutch Research Council TALENT award
  • 2003 Human Frontiers Long-Term Fellowship
  • 2004 VIDI award from the Dutch Research Council
  • 2005 European Young Investigators (EURYI) award from the European Science Foundation
  • 2005 Human Frontiers Career Development Award
  • 2011 VICI award from the Dutch Research Council
  • 2013 Consolidator grant from the European Research Council (ERC)
  • 2016 10th International Brain Research Organization (IBRO) / Kemali Prize
  • 2017 Bauer Distinguished Guest Lectureship at Brandeis University


  1. Casper Hoogenraad (2001). "Role of cytoplasmic linker proteins (CLIPs) in microtubule dynamics and membrane traffic". Casper Hoogenraad PhD thesis.
  2. Akhmanova A, Hoogenraad CC, Drabek K, Stepanova T, Dortland B, Verkerk T, Vermeulen W, Burgering BM, De Zeeuw CI, Grosveld F, Galjart N (2001). "Clasps are CLIP-115 and -170 associating proteins involved in the regional regulation of microtubule dynamics in motile fibroblasts" (PDF). Cell. pp. 923–935. doi:10.1016/s0092-8674(01)00288-4. PMID 11290329.
  3. Matanis T, Akhmanova A, Wulf P, Del Nery E, Weide T, Stepanova T, Galjart N, Grosveld F, Goud B, De Zeeuw CI, Barnekow A, Hoogenraad CC (2002). "Bicaudal-D regulates COPI-independent Golgi-ER transport by recruiting the dynein-dynactin motor complex". pp. 986–992. doi:10.1038/ncb891. PMID 12447383.
  4. Hoogenraad CC, Akhmanova A, Howell SA, Dortland BR, De Zeeuw CI, Willemsen R, Visser P, Grosveld F, Galjart N (2001). "Mammalian Golgi-associated Bicaudal-D2 functions in the dynein-dynactin pathway by binding to both complexes" (PDF). pp. 4041–4054. doi:10.1093/emboj/20.15.4041. PMID 11483508.
  5. Hoogenraad CC, Milstein AD, Ethell IM, Henkemeyer M, Sheng M (2005). "GRIP1 controls dendrite morphogenesis by regulating EphB receptor trafficking". pp. 906–915. doi:10.1038/nn1487. PMID 15965473.
  6. "Casper Hoogenraad - Erasmus MC". Archived from the original on 2008-09-26. Retrieved 2020-07-26.
  7. "Casper Hoogenraad – Utrecht University". Cell Biology – Utrecht University. Retrieved 2020-07-26.
  8. "Casper Hoogenraad - Molecular Neuroscience - Institute of Biodynamics and Biocomplexity". Institute of Biodynamics and Biocomplexity - Utrecht University. Retrieved 2020-07-26.
  9. "Casper Hoogenraad - Bijvoet Centre for Biomolecular Research". Bijvoet Centre for Biomolecular Research - Utrecht University. Retrieved 2020-07-26.
  10. "Casper Hoogenraad - Science for Life". Science for Life - Utrecht University. Retrieved 2020-07-26.
  11. Kapitein LC, Schlager MA, Kuijpers M, Wulf PS, van Spronsen M, MacKintosh FC, Hoogenraad CC (2010). "Mixed microtubules steer dynein-driven cargo transport into dendrites" (PDF). pp. 290–299. doi:10.1016/j.cub.2009.12.052. PMID 20137950.
  12. Yau KW, Schätzle P, Tortosa E, Pagès S, Holtmaat A, Kapitein LC, Hoogenraad CC (2016). "Dendrites In Vitro and In Vivo Contain Microtubules of Opposite Polarity and Axon Formation Correlates with Uniform Plus-End-Out Microtubule Orientation" (PDF). pp. 1071–1085. doi:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2430-15.2016. PMID 26818498.
  13. van Beuningen SF, Will L, Harterink M, Chazeau A, van Battum EY, Frias CP, Franker MA, Katrukha EA, Stucchi R, Vocking K, Antunes AT, Slenders L, Doulkeridou S, Sillevis Smitt P, Altelaar AF, Post JA, Akhmanova A, Pasterkamp RJ, Kapitein LC, de Graaff E, Hoogenraad CC (2015). "TRIM46 controls neuronal polarity and axon specification by driving the formation of parallel microtubule arrays" (PDF). pp. 1208–1226. doi:10.1016/j.neuron.2015.11.012. PMID 26671463.
  14. Jaworski J, Kapitein LC, Gouveia SM, Dortland BR, Wulf PS, Grigoriev I, Camera P, Spangler SA, Di Stefano P, Demmers J, Krugers H, Defilippi P, Akhmanova A, Hoogenraad CC (2009). "Dynamic microtubules regulate dendritic spine morphology and synaptic plasticity" (PDF). pp. 85–100. doi:10.1016/j.neuron.2008.11.013. PMID 19146815.
  15. Hoogenraad CC, Wulf P, Schiefermeier N, Stepanova T, Galjart N, Small JV, Grosveld F, de Zeeuw CI, Akhmanova A (2001). "Bicaudal D induces selective dynein-mediated microtubule minus end-directed transport" (PDF). pp. 6004–6015. doi:10.1093/emboj/cdg592. PMID 14609947.
  16. Kapitein LC, Schlager MA, van der Zwan WA, Wulf PS, Keijzer N, Hoogenraad CC (2010). "Probing intracellular motor protein activity using an inducible cargo trafficking assay" (PDF). pp. 6004–6015. doi:10.1016/j.bpj.2010.07.055. PMID 20923648.
  17. "Morgan Sheng – Broad Institute". Broad Institute. Retrieved 2020-07-26.
  18. "Casper Hoogenraad - ASCB member profile". ASCB - Mary Spiro. Retrieved 2020-07-26.
  19. "Casper Hoogenraad – Genentech". Neuroscience – Genentech. Retrieved 2020-07-26.
  20. Hoogenraad lab (2013). A Day in the Life of a Motor Protein (Youtube). REDRUM, Ede, The Netherlands.
  21. "Casper Hoogenraad - CV" (PDF). Retrieved 2020-08-02.
  22. "Casper Hoogenraad - EMBO". Archived from the original on 2015-12-01. Retrieved 2020-08-02.
  23. "Casper Hoogenraad - DJA-KNAW". Retrieved 2020-08-02.
  24. "Casper Hoogenraad - YAE". Retrieved 2020-08-02.
  25. "Casper Hoogenraad - IBRO Kemali Prize". Archived from the original on 2015-09-05. Retrieved 2020-08-02.
  26. "Casper Hoogenraad – PMC publications". Europe PMC. Retrieved 2020-08-02.
  27. "Casper Hoogenraad - Neuron - editorial board". Retrieved 2020-08-02.

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