Working Group Neuromuscular Disorders

The focus of the working group Neuromuscular Disorders is on basic scientific, translational and clinical research projects in the field of diseases of the motor neuron, peripheral nerve, neuromuscular endplate and skeletal muscle.



  • Prof. Jens Schmidt (Head)
  • Franka Berger
  • Kanan Hasanov
  • Michael Hauke


The working group of Prof. Schmidt is focused on basic, translational and clinical research projects in the field of neuromuscular disorders, in particular muscle inflammation such as inclusion body myositis (IBM). IBM is a progressive muscle disorder characterized by muscle inflammation, weakness and atrophy in individuals above 50 years. No effective treatment is currently available and the clinical course often leads to severe disability.

Hallmarks of the muscle pathology include accumulation of β-amyloid-associated molecules and inflammation of the muscle fibers along with an invasion by cytotoxic T-cells that attack the muscle.

To elucidate the pathophysiology of neuromuscular diseases in general and inclusion body myositis in detail and the reason why patients develop muscle weakness, our group is working with primary human muscle cell cultures (2D- and 3D-modells) as well as inducible in vitro myositis models. Our state of the art equipped laboratory allows us different neuroimmunological and neuromuscular experimental techniques, e.g. quantitative PCR, ELISA, Western Blot, immunohistochemically staining methods and siRNA-mediated gene knockdown.

Apart from basic research, the group is actively involved in translational research and clinical research. The major aim is to bring forward our understanding of the pathogenesis of neuromuscular disorders and to identify novel treatment approaches.


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