Our Lab

Clinician Scientist Group

Welcome to the lab of Sabine Liebscher, MD



Group photo of our lab


Our Aim

In our group we strive to understand how molecular and cellular changes, caused by neurodegenerative or neuroinflammatory processes, affect the structure and function of single neurons and neural circuits. Our main focus lies on unraveling the cellular mechanisms underlying the neurodegenerative disease Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). ALS is characterized by the degeneration of motor neurons in cortex (upper motor neurons or corticospinal tract neurons) and motor neurons in spinal cord (lower motor neurons). Prior to actual motor neuron death we observe a number of molecular changes in both neurons and glia cells and even the infiltration of peripheral immune cells, the relevance of which for motor neuron function remains elusive to date. A main part of our research is centered on the characterization of neuronal and glial response properties in motor cortex and spinal cord. We then aim at revealing the actual sequence of events giving rise to eventual neuronal death in ALS, its time course and its potential reversibility. 



Our Approach

We rely on state of the art in vivo two-photon imaging approaches in behaving and anesthetized ALS transgenic mice to chronically monitor structure and function of neurons and glia cells over extended periods of time. Virally expressed genetically encoded indicators enable us to track e.g. neuronal firing, intracellular calcium levels, glutamate release or caspase activation in vivo. We furthermore apply tracing methods to label particular cell populations and post mortem immunohistochemical analyses to assess expression of additional molecular markers. Pharmacologic, genetic or optogenetic manipulations will be assessed for their potential therapeutic effects. 



Our Support

The "Clinician Scientist Group" is funded by SyNergy – Munich Cluster for Systems Neurology, the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Muskelkranke e.V., the Friedrich-Baur Institut and by the Förderprogramm für Forschung und Lehre“ (FöFoLe) of the Ludwig-Maximilians-University. 



Prof. Dr.

Martin Kerschensteiner


Group Leader


Sabine Liebscher


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