Prof. Dr. Sigrid Hoffmann, PhD
Member of Mannheim University of Applied Sciences
Medical Research Center
Medical Faculty Mannheim
University of Heidelberg
Theodor-Kutzer Ufer 1-3
Phone: (++49) 621-383-5620
Fax: (++49) 621-383-2108
Our research interests focus on the molecular mechanisms involved in chronic renal diseases such as glomerulosclerosis and polycystic kidney disease. Both diseases can be ascribed to dysregulated epithelial cells - the podocyte and the tubular epithelial cell, respectively. We are specifically interested in understanding how hormones and small regulative molecules, such as angiotensin II, TGF 1, and VEGF control the fate of these cells throughout initiation and progression of the disease in the context of the whole organism. A further topic of research concentrates on the function of the newly discovered gene Anks 6, that causes polycystic kidney disease when mutated, and which function is yet unresolved.
As a main tool for our studies we developed a series of novel transgenic rat models overexpressing the receptors for angiotensin II and TGF- or overexpressing VEGF in an inducible manner specifically in the podocyte. To proof and analyse the function of Anks6 in the context of the polycystic kidney disease, we developed a transgenic rat model overexpressing a tagged Anks6 gene in the renale tubular epithelial cells. Such models enable us to study the link between the genetic modification and the initiation of the disease process. Despite challenging, we continue our research in the transgenic rat model rather than in the mouse model system since the rat, traditionally the most widely used animal model for cardiovascular and renal diseases, offer advantages overhelming the limitations given by using transgenic and knockout technology in this species. The recent progress in establishing the knockout technology in the rat (so far available in the mouse only) by using e.g. the zinc finger nuclease technology open a new area of research for the rat model, which we will address in future project.
Our laboratory incorporates a wide range of both in vitro and in vivo techniques enabling us to cover all steps integrated in the process of developing and characterization of novel transgenic models.