TU Dresden


Retinal Development and Regeneration - Mike O. Karl

Our overall goals are to decipher and manipulate mechanisms that control the fate of retinal cells throughout their life. Specifically, we want to find new ways to prolong neuronal life and to replace neuronal cells. Two of our major current aims are to understand and overcome the mechanisms limiting neuronal regeneration in neurodegenerative diseases using the mouse and human retina to develop new regenerative therapies.

Previous and current research

Our lab current and future research foci encompass the study of retinal development and regeneration, retinal diseases and retinal repair. I am interested in retinal cells throughout their life, from embryonic stem cells to retinal progenitors to differentiating and mature neurons and glia – with an eye on neuronal regeneration (meaning de-novo neurogenesis) in the adult mammalian retina. The major strategy will be to gain new insight in seminal processes of retinal development, regeneration and degeneration with the objective to develop strategies for neuronal protection and repair.

Future projects and goals

Future research will be focused on, but not limited to, (1) the study of retinal progenitor cell physiology and signaling of cell proliferation, differentiation and survival; (2) control of glia cell activation and proliferation; (3) and dissection of genetic and molecular pathways that are involved in regulating and /or limiting neuronal regeneration.

Group leader

Selected publications

Löffler K, Schäfer P, Völkner M, Holdt T & Karl MO. (2015) Age-dependent Müller glia stem cell competences in the mouse retina. Glia. 2015 May 6. doi: 10.1002/glia.22846.

Ueki Y., Karl M.O., Sudar S., Pollak J., Taylor R.J., Loeffler K., Wilken M.S., Reardon S., Reh T.A. (2012) P53 is required for the developmental restriction in Müller glial proliferation in mouse retina. Glia. 2012 Oct;60(10):1579-89.

Karl M.O., Hayes S, Nelson B.R., Tan K., Buckingham B. and Reh T.A.(2008) Stimulation of neural regeneration in the mouse. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 105(49):19508-13.

Lamba D., Karl M.O. and Reh T.A. (2008) Neuronal Regeneration and Replacement: A view from the Eye. Cell Stem Cell 2: 538-549. (Review)

Lamba D., Karl M.O. and T. Reh (2006). Efficient generation of retinal progenitor cells from human embryonic stem cells. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 22;103(34):12769-74.


Group Leader

Dr. Mike O. Karl

Assistant to Group Leader

Kristin Baues
Phone: +49 (0)351 458 82200

Lab Activities


Novartis Research Grant