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The Schlunck Lab – Cellular Signal Integration and Mechanobiology

Schlunck Lab

Most diseases arise from changes in distinct cellular functions and novel therapeutic approaches allow to address specific molecular pathways. Therefore, it is our goal to characterize disease mechanisms and normal cellular functions on a molecular level to provide us with possible targets for improved treatment strategies.

Cells integrate a vast array of chemical, electrical and mechanical signals which in concert determine cell differentiation and function. We focused on the interplay of cell-ECM interactions and growth factor signaling with a special interest in mechanotransduction.

In this endeavour, we introduced the concept to use ROCK inhibitors (Meyer-ter-Vehn et al., 2006) or statins (Meyer-ter-Vehn et al., 2008) in scarring modulation following glaucoma surgery. With regard to intraocular pressure regulation and changes in primary open angle glaucoma, we provided the first reports on effects of extracellular matrix elasticity on human trabecular meshwork cells (Schlunck et al., 2008) and its influence on responses to TGF-β stimulation (Han et al., 2011). To allow for further insight into to the possible roles of small RNAs in the aqueous humor, we provided a first report on miRNA transcriptome data retrieved from single aqueous humor samples using Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) (Wecker et al., 2016). More recently, we observed that very slow interstitial fluid fow is sufficient to induce myofibroblast transdifferentiation in human Tenon fibroblasts by activation of TGF-β receptor signaling (Wiedenmann et al. 2023). This suggests that aqueous outflow into the subconjunctival space, the goal of filtering glaucoma surgery, may itself promote fibrosis in distinct conditions which deserve further characterization.

Principal Investigator


Prof. Dr. med. Günther Schlunck



Team Members

  • René Pöttke, Technical Assistant
  • Dr. Moritz Gläser, MD
  • Dr. Cornelius Wiedenmann, MD
  • Kosovare Zeqiri, MD student
  • Charlotte Gottwald, MD student
  • Janne Frömmichen, MD student
  • Jeanne Ströble, MD student