Kim Heidenreich, PhD

Professor Emerita


Contact Information:

University of Colorado Denver
Department of Pharmacology
Mail Stop 8303, RC1-North
12800 East 19th Ave
Aurora CO 80045


Kim A. Heidenreich is Professor of Pharmacology and Neuroscience at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. She also serves on the Keystone Scientific Advisory Board and is Chief Scientific Advisor for the American Traumatic Brain Injury Association. Dr. Heidenreich has been conducting neuroscience research for over 30 years with continual funding in the area of neurotrophic factors, mechanisms of neuronal cell death, and recently, traumatic brain injury (TBI). Her laboratory has identified a number of protein kinase signaling pathways that trigger or prevent neuronal cell death in response to neuronal insults and neurotrophic factors, respectively. She has examined the ways in which key proapoptotic and antiapoptotic protein kinases regulate cytoplasmic, mitochondrial, and nuclear targets to control neuronal apoptosis and autophagy. Her recent studies have focused on preventing secondary brain damage after a TBI. She has recently discovered that leukotrienes, potent inflammatory lipid mediators normally absent in brain, are produced by a transcellular mechanism involving infiltrating neutrophils after TBI. Blockade of leukotriene production using 5-lipoxgenase (FLAP) inhibitors prevents edema, cell death, and cognitive deficits after TBI. These findings have important implications for treating human TBI and suggest that development of FLAP inhibitors for use in TBI is feasible for both intervention and prevention. Toward this goal, Dr. Heidenreich is currently developing FLAP inhibitors with improved CNS properties and novel delivery methods for these drugs in TBI.


As a strong advocate of Neuroscience research, Dr. Heidenreich has previously served as chair of the membership committee of the UC Denver Neuroscience Program and as President of the Rocky Mountain Neuroscience Research Group, a Colorado chapter of the Society of Neuroscience. She has mentored many pre- and post-doctoral scientists, as well as junior physician scientists, in her laboratory. She also has served as mentor for the NIH Building Research Achievement in Neuroscience (BRAiN) Training Program and was the recipient of the 2006 Dean’s Mentoring Award at her institution.  Dr. Heidenreich has served on numerous study sections reviewing grants for the NIH, DOD, VA and small research granting agencies. Recently, she has been invited to speak at numerous national and international TBI conferences including the Annual Traumatic Brain Injury Conference in Washington, D.C. and the C4CT Concussion Awareness Summits, the last one held Pre-superbowl 2014 at the United Nations. She has been a recipient of research support from the State of Colorado Brain Injury Program for the past five years.  Dr. Heidenreich received her undergraduate degree in Biology from Westminster College in 1974 and her Ph.D. in Physiology/Biophysics from the University of Vermont in 1979.

A brief description of her recent research can be viewed on the University of Colorado Who We Are site.

CBS Denver News interviewed Dr. Heidenreich on her current research developing a treatment for concussions. You can watch the full interview here. conducted an interview with Drs. Heidenreich and Miknis regarding their development of novel therapies for treating TBI.  You can listen to this interview below, or by viewing the story on the W3W3 website.

View Dr. Heidenreich's Publications on PubMed


Selected Publications (out of 90):  
1.    Linseman, DA, ML McClure, RJ Bouchard, TA Laessig, D Brenner, and KA Heidenreich.  Suppression of death receptor signaling in cerebellar Purkinje  neurons protects neighboring granule neurons from apoptosis. J. Biol. Chem. 277: 24546-24553, 2002.
2.    Linseman, DA, RA Phelps, RJ Bouchard, TA Laessig, SS Le, and KA Heidenreich.  Insulin-like growth factor-I blocks Bim induction and intrinsic death signaling in cerebellar granule neurons.  J. Neuroscience 22: 9287-9297, 2002. 
3.    Heidenreich KA. Molecular Mechanisms of Neuronal Cell Death.  In Parkinson’s Disease, Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, vol.991, 237-250, 2003.
4.    Linseman, DA, CM Bartley, SS Le, TA Laessig, RJ Bouchard, MK Meintzer, M Li, and KA Heidenreich. Inactivation of the MEF2 repressor HDAC5 by endogenous CAMKII promotes depolarization-mediated neuronal survival. J. Biol. Chem. 278: 41472-41481, 2003.
5.    Heidenreich KA and DA Linseman.  Myocyte enhancer factor-2 (MEF2) transcription factors in neuronal differentiation and survival.  Mol. Neurobiol. 29: 155-166, 2004.
6.     McClure ML, DA Linseman, CT Chu, RJ Bouchard, TA Laessig, SS Le, and KA Heidenreich.  Neurotrophins and death receptors regulate autophagic death in cerebellar Purkinje neurons.  J. Neuroscience 24: 4498-4509, 2004.
7.    Linseman, DA*, BD Butts*, TA Precht, RA Phelps, SS Le, TA Laessig, RJ Bouchard, ML McClure, and KA Heidenreich. Glycogen synthase kinase-3b phosphorylates Bax and promotes its mitochondrial localization during neuronal apoptosis. *co-first authors J. Neuroscience 24: 9993-10002, 2004.
8.    Precht, TA, RA Phelps, DA Linseman, BD Butts, RJ Bouchard, SS Le, TA Laessig, and KA Heidenreich.  Bax translocation to mitochondria is triggered by permeability transition pore opening in cerebellar granule neurons undergoing apoptosis. Cell Death and Differentiation 12: 255-265, 2005.
9.     Bains, M. and KA Heidenreich. Live-cell imaging of autophagosome-lysosome fusion in primary neurons. Methods of Enzymology: Autophagy 253, ed D.L. Klionsky Invited chapter, 141-154, 2009
10.  Bains, M, ML Florez-McClure, and KA Heidenreich. IGF-I blocks autophagic cell death of Purkinje neurons by increasing the turnover of autophagic vesiclesJ. Biol. Chem 284: 20398-20407, 2009.
11.  Farias, SE, LC Frey, RC Murphy, and KA Heidenreich. Blockade of leukotriene production reduces brain injury following experimental TBI.  J. Neurotrauma. 26: 1-10, 2009.
12.  Hankin, JA, S Farias, RM Barkely, KA Heidenreich, LC Frey, K Hamazaki, HY Kim, and RC Murphy. MALDI Mass Spectrometric Imaging of Lipids in Rat Brain Injury Models. J. Amer. Soc. Mass Spectrometry 22: 1014-1021, 2011.
13.  Klionsky, DJ et al. Guidelines for the use and interpretation of assays for monitoring autophagy in higher eukaryotes. Autophagy 8 (4): 1-100, 2012.
14.  Serbedzija,P, and C Corser-Jensen, and K A Heidenreich. An improved method for localizing and quantifying blood-brain-barrier disruption.Brain Injury  (in press)
15.  Corser-Jensen, CE, DJ Goodell, RK Freund, P Serbedzija, R Murphy, SE Farias, ML Dell'Acqua, LC Frey, N Serkova, and KA Heidenreich. Inhibition of leukotriene production protects against secondary brain damage and cognitive deficits induced by traumatic brain injury. Experimental Neurology, 7-16, 2014.

Pharmacology (SOM)

CU Anschutz

Research I North

12800 East 19th Avenue


Aurora, CO 80045


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