When reperfusion is induced after an ischemic event, specifically during stroke, organ transplantation, or resuscitation after a cardiac arrest, this reperfusion process can paradoxically cause additional damage to the affected tissue. Such ischemia-reperfusion injuries (IRI) are a serious complication responsible for a variety of clinically important conditions including exacerbated brain damage and acute kidney injury. Ferroptosis, a recently described form of regulated necrotic cell death, has emerged as a common underlying pathomechanism of tissue IRI, and represents a promising therapeutic target to prevent extensive IRI-driven cell loss, tissue damage, and necroinflammation. This form of cell death is characterized by iron-dependent lipid peroxidation, ultimately leading to plasma membrane rupture and death of the cell. To date, there is no biomarker available that unequivocally allows for the detection of ferroptosis, and despite the development of ferroptosis inhibitors there is no treatment for IRI.

Dr. Maria Fedorova, leader of the research group “Lipid Metabolism: Analysis and Integration” at the Center of Membrane Biochemistry and Lipid Research (ZML) at the Faculty of Medicine of the Dresden University of Technology TUD, is the project coordinator of the FERROPath consortium that will be funded by the Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (BMBF) from July 2022 for 3 years. The consortium brings together six partners with highly complementary expertise in oxi-lipidomics, bioinformatics, drug discovery, immunology, organ transplantation, pre-clinical, and clinical research in a highly interdisciplinary approach based on Dresden, München, Regensburg and Essen.

Prof. Ana Casas and Prof. Kleinschnitz lead the subproject „The role of non-cell-autonomous ferroptotic cell death in acute brain ischemia“, which will analyze ferroptosis-dependent pathways in post-stroke brain damage. Here they aim to identify brain-specific biomarkers of stroke progression which could be later used as markers to assess therapeutic success and prognosis. Ultimately, the consortium strives to provide a proof-of-concept for next-generation ferroptosis inhibitors.

Figure. Ferroptosis as the common pathomechanism underlying ischemia reperfusion injury (IRI) in multiple organs and disease contexts.


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Casas AI, Kleikers PWM, Geuss E, Langhauser F, Adler T, Busch DH, et al. Calcium-dependent blood-brain barrier breakdown by NOX5 limits postreperfusion benefit in stroke. J Clin Invest 2019 Mar 18;129(4):1772–8.

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Maria Fedorov, PhD

TU Dresden

Univ.-Prof. Dr. med. Christoph Kleinschnitz



Ana I. Casas, PhD

Junior Professor


Svenja Christina Rohde, MSc

PhD student