Professor Martin Biel

Chair professor, Department Pharmazie

My laboratory studies the role of ion channels in normal physiology and disease. We are seeking to achieve a comprehensive view on these proteins on the molecular, cellular and organismic level. An important goal of our work is to explore the potential of ion channels for therapeutic interference as well as their impact as drug target.

One particular class of ion channels we are interested in are cyclic nucleotide-modulated (CNG and HCN) channels. CNG channels are crucial for visual transduction. Dysfunction of CNG channels is associated with several forms of blindness. We have developed advanced viral gene therapy approaches to restore vision in CNG channel-deficient mouse lines. Our long-term goal is to translate these methods into therapies for human patients. HCN channels play a fundamental role in the control of the heart beat but are also relevant for normal brain function. HCN channel dysfunction gives rise to important diseases, including cardiac arrhythmia, epilepsy and neuropathic pain. We have developed a number of mouse models to dissect the particular roles of HCN channels in these diseases. As for CNG channels we are seeking to identify therapeutic applications for HCN channels. Recently, our laboratory characterized a novel class of cation channels, the two-pore channels (TPCs). TPCs are Ca2+ permeable channels that are localized in endo/lysosomal organelles. We have launched a multidisplinary program to elucidate the significance of TPCs in normal physiology and disease.