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Prof. Dr. Lucas Schirmer

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a prototypic chronic-inflammatory disease of the central nervous system characterized by multiple lesions across gray and white matter areas. Deconvoluting the spatio-temporal cellular and molecular landscape is therefore key to understanding underlying disease mechanisms and to develop cell-type specific precision therapies.

The Schirmer lab ( has a wide experience in single-cell RNA-sequencing and transgenic model systems focusing on neuroglial and immune cell subtypes in neuroinflammatory diseases. The focus in the lab is on neuroglial and immune cell pathologies in progressive inflammatory diseases of the central and peripheral nervous system, such as MS and myositis.

Research in the Schirmer lab integrates a broad spectrum of multi-omics approaches and utilizes work with experimental models and human tissues in a synergistic way to track-down reactive cellular states in compartmentalized progressive neuroinflammation.

Selected national and international joint research projects

MWK: Multimodal characterization of liquor-specific signatures in long-COVID. Duration 2023 – 2025 (together with Claudia Schilling and Hayrettin Tumani)

DFG: GRK 2727 “InCheck”

Subproject: Decoding and regulating iron homeostasis in myeloid cells in neuroinflammation. Duration: 2022 – 2026

DFG: Decoding cell type-specific molecular traits along functional circuits in inflammatory demyelination. Duration: 2022 – 2025

DFG: FOR 2690 “Translational Pruritus Research” Subproject 4: Transcriptomic patterns of dermal Schwann cell reactivity in neuropathic itch and pain. Duration: 2022 – 2024

EU: ERC starting grant “Decoding spatio-temporal omics in progressive neuroinflammation (DecOmPress)”. Duration: 2021 – 2025

DFG: Deciphering alcohol addiction-associated gene regulation changes on a single cell level. Duration: 2020 – 2023 (together with Philipp Koch)

Hertie foundation: medMS MyLab Research Grant. Duration: 2019 - 2023

National Multiple Sclerosis Society USA: Understanding and modulating astrocyte diversity in MS and experimental demyelination. Duration: 2019 – 2020

Legend: DFG = German Research Foundation, EU = European Union,  MWK = Ministry of  Science, Research and the Arts

Selected publications

  1. Neuron-oligodendrocyte potassium shuttling at nodes of Ranvier protects against inflammatory demyelination.
    Kapell H, Fazio L, Dyckow J, Schwarz S, Cruz-Herranz A, Mayer C, Campos J, D'Este E, Möbius W, Cordano C, Pröbstel AK, Gharagozloo M, Zulji A, Narayanan Naik V, Delank A, Cerina M, Müntefering T, Lerma-Martin C, Sonner JK, Sin JH, Disse P, Rychlik N, Sabeur K, Chavali M, Srivastava R, Heidenreich M, Fitzgerald KC, Seebohm G, Stadelmann C, Hemmer B, Platten M, Jentsch TJ, Engelhardt M, Budde T, Nave KA, Calabresi PA, Friese MA, Green AJ, Acuna C, Rowitch DH, Meuth SG, Schirmer L. J Clin Invest (2023) 133(7):e164223.
  2. Cross-regional homeostatic and reactive glial signatures in multiple sclerosis.
    Trobisch T, Zulji A, Stevens NA, Schwarz S, Wischnewski S, Öztürk M, Perales-Patón J, Haeussler M, Saez-Rodriguez J, Velmeshev D, Schirmer L. Acta Neuropathol (2022) 144(5):987-1003
  3. Diversity and Function of Glial Cell Types in Multiple Sclerosis.
    Schirmer L, Schafer DP, Bartels T, Rowitch DH, Calabresi PA. Trends Immunol (2021) 42(3):228-247.
  4. Gut microbiota-specific IgA+ B cells traffic to the CNS in active multiple sclerosis.
    Pröbstel AK, Zhou X, Baumann R, Wischnewski S, Kutza M, Rojas OL, Sellrie K, Bischof A, Kim K, Ramesh A, Dandekar R, Greenfield AL, Schubert RD, Bisanz JE, Vistnes S, Khaleghi K, Landefeld J, Kirkish G, Liesche-Starnecker F, Ramaglia V, Singh S, Tran EB, Barba P, Zorn K, Oechtering J, Forsberg K, Shiow LR, Henry RG, Graves J, Cree BAC, Hauser SL, Kuhle J, Gelfand JM, Andersen PM, Schlegel J, Turnbaugh PJ, Seeberger PH, Gommerman JL, Wilson MR, Schirmer L, Baranzini SE. Sci Immunol (2020) 5(53):eabc7191.
  5. Neuronal vulnerability and multilineage diversity in multiple sclerosis.
    Schirmer L, Velmeshev D, Holmqvist S, Kaufmann M, Werneburg S, Jung D, Vistnes S, Stockley JH, Young A, Steindel M, Tung B, Goyal N, Bhaduri A, Mayer S, Engler JB, Bayraktar OA, Franklin RJM, Haeussler M, Reynolds R, Schafer DP, Friese MA, Shiow LR, Kriegstein AR, Rowitch DH. Nature (2019) 573(7772):75-82.
  6. Single-cell genomics identifies cell type-specific molecular changes in autism.
    Velmeshev D, Schirmer L, Jung D, Haeussler M, Perez Y, Mayer S, Bhaduri A, Goyal N, Rowitch DH, Kriegstein A. Science (2019) 364(6441):685-9.
  7. Single-Cell High-Throughput Technologies in Cerebrospinal Fluid Research and Diagnostics.
    Lanz TV, Pröbstel AK, Mildenberger I, Platten M, Schirmer L. Front Immunol (2019) 10:1302.
  8. Kir4.1-Dependent Astrocyte-Fast Motor Neuron Interactions Are Required for Peak Strength.
    Kelley KW, Ben Haim L, Schirmer L, Tyzack GE, Tolman M, Miller JG, Tsai HH, Chang SM, Molofsky AV, Yang Y, Patani R, Lakatos A, Ullian EM, Rowitch DH. Neuron (2018) 98(2):306-19.e7.
  9. Oligodendrocyte-encoded Kir4.1 function is required for axonal integrity.
    Schirmer L, Möbius W, Zhao C, Cruz-Herranz A, Ben Haim L, Cordano C, Shiow LR, Kelley KW, Sadowski B, Timmons G, Pröbstel AK, Wright JN, Sin JH, Devereux M, Morrison DE, Chang SM, Sabeur K, Green AJ, Nave KA, Franklin RJ, Rowitch DH. eLife (2018) 7:651.
  10. Neurotoxic reactive astrocytes are induced by activated microglia.
    Liddelow SA, Guttenplan KA, Clarke LE, Bennett FC, Bohlen CJ, Schirmer L, Bennett ML, Münch AE, Chung WS, Peterson TC, Wilton DK, Frouin A, Napier BA, Panicker N, Kumar M, Buckwalter MS, Rowitch DH, Dawson VL, Dawson TM, Stevens B, Barres BA. Nature (2017) 541(7638):481-7.