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Prof. Dr. med. 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

  • German Research Foundation (DFG): Research Training Group GRK2727 InCheck: “Innate Immune Checkpoints in Cancer and Tissue Damage”
    Subproject: Decoding and regulating iron homeostasis in myeloid cells in neuroinflammation
  • German Research Foundation (DFG): Deciphering alcohol addiction-associated gene regulation changes on a single cell level
  • ERC starting grant
  • National Multiple Sclerosis Society
  • Gemeinnützige Hertie Stiftung

Selected publications

  1. Diversity and Function of Glial Cell Types in Multiple Sclerosis.
    Schirmer L, Schafer DP, Bartels T, Rowitch DH, Calabresi PA. Trends Immunol (2021) Mar;42(3):228-247.
  2. Neuronal vulnerability and multilineage diversity in multiple sclerosis.
    Schirmer L, Velmeshev D, Holmqvist S, Kaufmann M, Werneburg S, Jung D, et al. Nature (2019) 573(7772):75-82.
  3. Single-cell genomics identifies cell type-specific molecular changes in autism.
    Velmeshev D, Schirmer L, Jung D, Haeussler M, Perez Y, Mayer S, et al. Science (2019) 364(6441):685-9.
  4. Single-Cell High-Throughput Technologies in Cerebrospinal Fluid Research and Diagnostics.
    Lanz TV, Pröbstel AK, Mildenberger I, Platten M, Schirmer L. Front Immunol (2019) Jun 11;10:1302.
  5. 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, et al. Neuron (2018) 98(2):306-19.e7.
  6. Oligodendrocyte-encoded Kir4.1 function is required for axonal integrity.
    Schirmer L, Möbius W, Zhao C, Cruz-Herranz A, Ben Haim L, Cordano C, et al. eLife (2018) 7:651.
  7. Neurotoxic reactive astrocytes are induced by activated microglia.
    Liddelow SA, Guttenplan KA, Clarke LE, Bennett FC, Bohlen CJ, Schirmer L, et al. Nature (2017) 541(7638):481-7.