Prof. Dr. Marlies Knipper
Dr. Jutta Engel [>>]

Role of L-VGCC subtypes in the auditory system

Hearing Research Centre Tuebingen, University of Tuebingen

The Tuebingen Hearing Research Centre (THRC) integrated into the Department of Otolaryngology at the University of Tuebingen is one of the largest hearing research centres in Europe.

The aim of the Centre (40 scientists) is to understand the function of the cochlea, identify reasons for genetic and epigenetic hearing impairment and to develop strategies for the causal treatment of cochlear dysfunction. The groups of M. Knipper and J. Engel have access to state-of-the-art equipment such as sound-proof chambers for hearing measurements and animal behavioural models, electrophysiology setups, confocal and two photon laser scanning microscopy, real time RT-PCR, standard molecular biological techniques, sequencing, cell culture, rooms for incubators, centrifuges, autoclaves and an animal house for more than 8000 mouse units kept on high hygiene standards. Over the past decade, the lab of Prof. Knipper has been focusing on cochlear development, differentiation, transcriptional regulation of ion channels and function and analysing plastic changes in the auditory pathway. Techniques span from various molecular biological techniques, detection methods for mRNA and protein, analysis of regulation of gene expression including reporter gene assays and EMSA, to hearing measurements (BERA, DPOAEs) and behavioural animal models for detection of phantom noise. So far, 22 undergraduate and PhD students obtained their degrees in the lab of Prof Knipper. Dr. Engel's lab has focused on analysing Ca2+ channels of cochlear hair cells regarding final differentiation, premature spiking activity and mature function of hair cells. Techniques employed are whole-cell patch clamp recordings, measurements of exocytosis (capacitance), Ca2+ imaging, molecular biological techniques and computer models of hair cell conductances. Both team leaders have many international collaborations. With respect to the proposed network, collaborations exist with NP09 (Striessnig), NP05 (Friauf/Nothwang), and NP06 (Lacinova).

The THRC is actively participating in graduate and postgraduate teaching and tutoring. Apart from their experimental work, students and Postdocs are trained by weekly lab meetings, seminars, journal clubs and weekly Scientific Conferences and by annual meetings of the THRC. In addition, the University of Tuebingen offers various seminar series in neurobiology, biochemistry and related disciplines with invited speakers.

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L-type calcium channels in health and