Bernd Fritzsch


My research aims to understand the molecular basis of inner ear neurosensory development and evolution in order to allow secure translation into attempts to retain a functional organ of Corti or reconstitute lost neurosensory elements of the hearing system. Additional research looks into gene regulation, including gene regulation that parallel those in craniofacial development of which the ear, in particular the middle ear and its ossicle, are an essential part. As a consequence of these commonalities across development, some genes relevant for ear development are also important in craniofacial development such as Eya1/Six1. Recent work identified a gene with a severe defect in the palate in mice and close scrutiny of existing databases revealed a thus far uncharacterized mutation in humans with a cleft. Such insights highlight the power of collaborative interactions of basic scientists and clinicians to discover and characterize genes and their function in normal and aberrant craniofacial development.