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Research Group Kufner

Clinical stroke research with focus on imaging

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Anna Kufner, MD PhD

CCM: Campus Charité Mitte

Portrait of Anna Kufner, MD PhD


Our research group focuses on addressing highly relevant topics in the field of ischemic stroke with a particular focus on imaging. For example, we aim to identify imaging parameters on routine clinical MRI as well as CT that can not only help us predict long-term outcome post-stroke (i.e. response to thrombolysis, recurrent vascular events, and post-stroke dementia), but can also aid in accurately identifying stroke etiology and guide secondary prevention strategies. In collaboration with the Neuroradiology Department (Research Group Fiebach), we also explore the potential diagnostic and prognostic value of emerging, novel imaging techniques translated directly from pre-clinical findings. We recently launched a large-scale project that will pool the clinical and imaging data of several prospective ischemic stroke cohorts and will use a method called "lesion network mapping" to predict complex post-stroke symptoms including aphasia, acute disturbances of vigilance, as well as highly relevant long-term outcomes including post-stroke dementia and chronic depression.

Selected publications

Magnetic resonance imaging-based changes in vascular morphology and cerebral perfusion in subacute ischemic stroke.
Kufner A, Galinovic I, Khalil AA, Kellner E, Mekle R, Rackoll T,  Boehm-Sturm P, Fiebach JB, Flöel A, Ebinger, M, Endres M, Nave A.
J Cereb Blood Flow Metab. 2021

White matter hyperintensities are an independent predictor of cognitive decline 3 years following first-ever stroke-results from the PROSCIS-B study.
Ali HF, Fast L, Khalil A, Siebert E, Liman T, Endres M, Villringer K, Kufner A.
J Neurol. 2022 Dec 6.

Extent of FLAIR Hyperintense vessels may modify treatment effect of thrombolysis: a Post hoc analysis of the WAKE-UP Trial.
Grosch AS*, Kufner A*, Boutitie F, Cheng B, Ebinger M, Endres M, Fiebach JB, Fiehler J, Königsberg A, Lemmens R, Muir KW, Nighoghossian N, Pedraza S, Siemonsen CZ, Thijs V, Wouters A, Gerloff C, Thomalla G, Galinovic I.
Front Neurol. 2021.

Association between Thrombus Perviousness Assessed on Computed Tomography and Stroke Etiology.
Kufner A Erdur E, Endres M, Nolte C, Scheel M, Schlemm L.
Stroke. 2020.

Hyperintense vessels on FLAIR – hemodynamic correlates and response to thrombolysis.
Kufner A, Galinovic I, Ambrosi A, Nolte CH, Endres M, Fiebach JB, Ebinger M.
Am J Neuroradiol. 2015.

Infarct volume-based subgroup selection in acute ischemic stroke trials.
Kufner A, Wouters A, Bracoud L, Laage R, Schneider A, Schäbitz WR, Hermier M, Thijs V, Fiebach JB.
Stroke. 2015;56

Smoking thrombolysis paradox: recanalization and reperfusion rates after IV-tPA in smokers with ischemic stroke.
Kufner A, Nolte CH, Galinovic I, Brunecker P, Kufner GM, Endres M, et al.
Stroke. 2013;44:407-413.


The increased availability of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in the clinical routine has made it even more important for us to better understand and make use of the plethora of information each MR-image provides us. Our research group strives to identify imaging-parameters that not only help us clinicians make more personalized, patient-specific treatment decisions – but also help us understand the underlying pathophysiology of the stroke at hand and take us closer to understanding the intricacies of systemic human brain itself.

Most Important Projects

Cerebral small vessel disease

  • Assessment of how selected cerebrovascular risk profiles (i.e. arterial hypertension, diabetes mellitus) affect distribution pattern of imaging biomarkers of cerebral small vessel disease
  • Assessment of how imaging biomarkers of small vessel disease – in particular white matter lesions – can help predict long-term vascular risk and cognitive decline

Structural and functional connectivity

  • Use of "lesion-network mapping" via the so-called human connectome to identify a potential network dysfunction associated with long-term post-stroke symptoms including dementia and chronic depression
  • To identify structural and functional networks associated with early motor function recovery in acute phase post-stroke (<7 days) as potential targets for future intervention studies (i.e. rTMS)
  • Identification of structural and functional networks associated with acute post-stroke symptoms (aphasia, sensory loss, dysphagia) to enhance our understanding of clinical neurology


Photo of the Research Group Kufner
From left to right: Matthias Bechner, Ulrike Grittner, Anna Kufner, Ana Sofía Ríos Infante, Ahmed Khalil
  • Matthias Bechner MSc
    Research Fellow, Institute of Biometry and Clinical Epidemiology
  • Ahmed Khalil MD PhD
    Resident Physician, Postdoc
  • PD Dr. phil. Ulrike Grittner
    Institute of Biometry and Clinical Epidemiology
  • Ana Sofía Ríos Infante
    PhD Student
  • Uchralt Temuulen
    PhD Student


  • Prof. Dr. Andreas Horn
    NetStim Lab, Harvard University, USA
  • Prof. Dr. Jochen Fiebach
    CSB Neuroradiology, Charité ­– Universitätsmedizin Berlin