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PD 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

  • ERC starting grant
  • DFG
  • National Multiple Sclerosis Society
  • Gemeinnützige Hertie Stiftung

Selected publications

Schirmer L, Velmeshev D, Holmqvist S, Kaufmann M, Werneburg S, Jung D, et al. Neuronal vulnerability and multilineage diversity in multiple sclerosis. Nature. 2019;573(7772):75-82.

Velmeshev D, Schirmer L, Jung D, Haeussler M, Perez Y, Mayer S, et al. Single-cell genomics identifies cell type-specific molecular changes in autism. Science. 2019;364(6441):685-9.

Kelley KW, Ben Haim L, Schirmer L, Tyzack GE, Tolman M, Miller JG, et al. Kir4.1-Dependent Astrocyte-Fast Motor Neuron Interactions Are Required for Peak Strength. Neuron. 2018;98(2):306-19.e7.

Schirmer L, Möbius W, Zhao C, Cruz-Herranz A, Ben Haim L, Cordano C, et al. Oligodendrocyte-encoded Kir4.1 function is required for axonal integrity. eLife. 2018;7:651.

Liddelow SA, Guttenplan KA, Clarke LE, Bennett FC, Bohlen CJ, Schirmer L, et al. Neurotoxic reactive astrocytes are induced by activated microglia. Nature. 2017;541(7638):481-7.