Ewch i’r prif gynnwys
Yves Barde  FRS

Professor Yves Barde FRS

Professor / Sêr Cymru Research Chair in Neurobiology

Ysgol y Biowyddorau

Sylwebydd y cyfryngau


Our work focuses on growth factors known to play key roles in brain development and function. Some of these growth factors are found not only in the brain, but also in circulating blood platelets and we are exploring the possibility that they may be delivered to the nervous system by small vesicles derived from platelets. To this end we have generated a new mouse model allowing this hypothesis to be tested. This approach takes advantage of a major difference between mouse and primates with regard to the growth factor content of platelets. This work could lead to novel ways of delivering genetically encoded macromolecules to the brain over long periods of time.


Much has been learned about molecular mechanisms operating in the mammalian nervous system using genetically modified animals. In particular, the relevance of growth factors initially identified on the basis of cell culture assays could be firmly established by selectively eliminating the corresponding genes, typically using the mouse as model organism. These experiments have greatly helped understanding the physiology of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and of its tyrosine kinase receptor TrkB. BDNF is a secreted protein initially identified on the basis of its ability to promote the survival of specific populations of sensory neurons (https://www.embopress.org/doi/abs/10.1002/j.1460-2075.1982.tb01207.x). Most of the current work now focusses on the role of BDNF in synaptic plasticity, a key aspect of memory-related mechanisms, as well as in neuroprotection in humans. Whilst the generation of mouse mutants has been a key driver thus far, it is also evident that there are major differences between primates and rodents. These include the distribution of BDNF and the sites of its biosynthesis. In particular, circulating blood platelets contain significant levels of BDNF in humans, higher than in the brain (https://www.eneuro.org/content/5/2/ENEURO.0419-17.2018). But such is not the case in the mouse, with the implication that the hypothesis that blood-derived BDNF may impact brain function could not be tested thus far. This is as such an interesting question given that the levels of BDNF increase in human serum after physical exercise and that the benefits of exercise towards maintaining or improving important aspects of brain function are well appreciated.

Our recent work led to the identification of megakaryocytes as the cellular origin of BDNF in human platelets (http://www.jbc.org/content/291/19/9872). Based on the related observation that mouse megakaryocytes do not contain BDNF, we recently generated a mouse model mimicking the situation in primates. In collaboration with colleagues at Cardiff University we are testing the possible benefits of blood-derived BDNF using this mouse model.

Work in our laboratory also involves the extensive use of neurons derived from embryonic stem cells to test novel reagents activating the BDNF receptor TrkB. This work involves collaborations with the biotechnology industry giving us access to novel antibodies able to activate TrkB and other receptors of interest (see https://www.pnas.org/content/115/30/E7023).


Ysgol Feddygol a Doethur Meddygaeth (Geneva, 1975)

Tystysgrif Bioleg Foleciwlaidd y Swistir (Basel, 1977)

Cymrawd ôl-ddoethurol, Adran Ffarmacoleg (Basel, 1976)

Cymrawd ôl-ddoethurol, Max-Planck Sefydliad Seiciatreg (Martinsried, yr Almaen, 1979)

Athro Schilling, Max-Planck Sefydliad Seiciatreg (Martinsried, yr Almaen, 1989)

Aelod gwyddonol o Gymdeithas Max-Planck, Cyfarwyddwr, Sefydliad Niwrobioleg Max-Planck (Martinsried, yr Almaen, 1991)

Athro Anrhydeddus Niwrofioleg, Prifysgol Ludwig Maximilian (Munich, Yr Almaen, 1993)

Cyfarwyddwr Sefydliad Friedrich Miescher ar gyfer Ymchwil Biofeddygol (Basel, 2001)

Athro Niwrobioleg Phil II Cyfadran (Basel, 2001)

Aelod Gwyddonol Allanol o Sefydliad Niwrobioleg Max-Planck (Martinsried, 2002)

Athro Niwrobioleg, Is-adran Ffarmacoleg a Niwrobioleg (Basel, 2003).

Cadeirydd Ymchwil Sêr Cymru mewn Niwrobioleg (Prifysgol Caerdydd, 2013)

Cymrawd y Gymdeithas Frenhinol (Llundain, 2017)