Institute for Biology and Molecular Genetics
Thomas Schimmang


Schimmang Lab

Hearing loss is one of the main sensory defects affecting especially the populations of industrialized countries. Hearing loss may be caused by exposure to noise, direct damage or genetically inherited with 1 in 1000 newborns affected. However, in industrialized countries especially the exposure to medicaments (e.g. cisplatin for treatment of cancer) and the growing number of aged individuals has led to an increase of chronic hearing loss. The loss of the quality of life in affected persons and the associated costs for diagnosis and treatment of patients are a considerable social and economical burden for our societies.

We are interested in several aspects of the physiology and pathofisiology of the auditory organ, including its development and innervation, damage and degeneration of auditory neurons and hair cells, and gene transfer into the inner ear. At the molecular level we are focussing on members of the neurotrophin, Fibroblast growth factor (FGFs) and myc gene families. To analyse the functions of these gene families in vivo we are using transgenic mouse models. These experiments are complemented with in vitro studies using primary cell cultures. We perform gain-of-function (viral expression, transgenic mice) and loss-of-function (RNAi, knock-out mice) experiments to define the roles of several members of the neurotrophin, FGF and myc gene families during inner ear formation, sensory cell and neuronal differentiation and survival. Finally, we are developing protocols directed to prevent hearing loss by gene or cell therapy.



Neurotrophin signaling


FGF signalling


Gene and Cell Therapy


Transcriptional regulators





Instituto de Biología y Genética Molecular
Universidad de Valladolid - Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas
C/ Sanz y Forés s/n
47003 - Valladolid - SPAIN
Phone: (+34) 983-184-818 Fax: (+34) 983-184-800

© Thomas Schimmang and