Our nephrological research team focuses on the functional analysis of renal disease-relevant genes and their role in signal transduction in genetic and acquired kidney diseases. We are particularly interested in two different structures in the kidney, the slit diaphragm cell junction built up by podocytes at the glomerular filtration barrier and primary cilia on kidney epithelial cells. In addition, we aim to understand the pathogenesis of acute kidney injury and ultimately to develop preventive strategies.
Within highly interactive research team members of our lab use a broad repertoire of techniques ranging from protein biochemistry and cell biology to animal physiology, functional proteomics and genomics. We have established various model organisms including knock-out and transgenic mice, the nematode C. elegans and the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster to study the molecular details of renal disease relevant genes and their role in the control of cell biology. At the center of the university campus our kidney research lab is embedded in a very active scientific community including leading labs in molecular medicine, metabolic and molecular aging research, developmental biology and biochemistry.
Bernhard Schermer is Head of the Nephrolab Cologne. Schermer received his MD at the University of Frankfurt under the supervision of Rudi Busse, Department of Cardiovascular Physiology. As research fellow at Harvard Medical School, Boston, and as postdoctoral fellow in Freiburg he focused on hereditary kidney diseases, signal transduction and cilia biology. In 2007 Bernhard Schermer moved to Cologne where he is Assistant Professor at the Department of Medicine and Vice-Director of the Kidney Research Center Cologne.
Thomas Benzing is Professor of Medicine and Chairman of the Department II of Internal Medicine at the University of Cologne. Benzing received his MD and clinical training at the University of Freiburg, Germany. During his postdoctoral research at the Institute of Cardiovascular Physiology, University of Frankfurt and at Harvard Medical School, Boston, he focused on various aspects of signaling in kidney disease. Since 2007 Benzing is Professor and Chairman of the Department II of Internal Medicine and Director of the Kidney Research Center Cologne. Benzing is also founding member of the Cologne Excellence Cluster on Cellular Stress Responses in Aging-Associated Diseases (CECAD), scientific coordinator of Systems Biology of Aging Cologne (Sybacol) and Director of the Center for Molecular Medicine Cologne. Thomas Benzing has been awarded with numerous prizes and awards including the Volhard Prize, the Ernst Jung Prize in Medicine as well as honorary fellowships by several societies including the American Society of Nephrology. He is elected member of the Ludwig Heilmeyer Society, the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina and the American Society of Clinical Investigation.