Engel, Wolfgang, Prof. Dr.

Professor of Human Genetics

  • Dr. med., Universität Freiburg, 1967
  • Physician, Hospital Schorndorf, 1966 - 1968
  • Postdoc, Institute of Human Genetics and Anthropology, Universität Freiburg, 1968 - 1977
  • Habilitation (Human Genetics), Universität Freiburg, 1974
  • Professor of Human Genetics and Director of the Institute, Universität Göttingen, 1977

Major Research Interests

Our research is focussed on the molecular analysis of normal human variability and genetic disturbances of development and differentiation.

Isolated genes are being analysed in detail with respect to their functional properties by animal models (transgenic and knock-out-mice). For suitable genetic diseases therapeutic strategies (substitution; gene therapy) are being developed and initial evaluation of such strategies is done in the mouse. - We are working on the genotype – phenotype correlations in neurological and cardiovascular diseases (e. g. Spastic paraplegia, Rett syndrome, Morbus Osler, mental retardation by subtelomeric microdeletions, molybdenum cofactor deficiency; cardiomypathies, Noonan syndrome) and several genetically determined malformation syndromes. We are also engaged in the molecular and cellular basis of initiation events of cancer, specifically in prostate cancer, medulloblastoma and rhabdomyosarcoma. - One main interest in our institute is the analysis of structure, expression and function of genes involved in differentiation of male gametes. The knowledge of the function of those genes can help us to clarify the genetic causes of male infertility.

We have isolated spermatogonial stem cells (SSCs) from adult mouse testis and demonstrated that these cells are as pluripotent as embryonic stem cells (ESCs). Our main interest is now to isolate and proliferate SSCs from adult human testis. These cells would be of great interest for regenerative medicine.

Homepage Department/Research Group

Selected Recent Publications

  • Xu X, Pantakani K, Lührig S, Tan X, Khromov T, Nolte J, Dressel R, Zechner U, Engel W (2011) Stage-specific germ-cell marker genes are expressed in all mouse pluripotent cell types and emerge early during induced pluripotency. PLoS ONE 6 (7): e22413. doi: 10.1371/journalpone.0022413

  • Glaser T, Opitz T, Kischlat T, Konang R, Sasse P, Fleischmann BK, Engel W, Nayernia K, Brüstle O (2008) Adult germ line stem cells as a source of functional neurons and glia. Stem Cells 26:2434-2443

  • Zovoilis A, Nolte J, Drusenheimer N, Zechner U, Hada H, Guan K, Hasenfuß G, Nayernia K, Engel W (2008) Multipotent adult germline stem cells and embryonic stem cells have similar microRNA profiles. Molecular Human Reproduction 14:521-529

  • Guan K, Wagner S, Unsöld B, Maier LS, Kaiser D, Hemmerlein B, Nayernia K, Engel W, Hasenfuss G (2007) Generation of functional cardiomyocytes from adult mouse spermatogonial stem cells. Circulation Research 100:1615-1625

  • Nayernia K, Nolte J, Michelmann HW, Lee JH, Rathsack K, Drusenheimer N, Dev A, Wulf G, Ehrmann IE, Elliott DJ, Okpanyi V, Zechner, Haaf T, MeinhardtA, Engel W (2006) In vitro-differentiated embryonic stem cells give rise to male gametes that can generate offspring mice. Developmental Cell 11:125-132

  • Guan K, Nayernia K, Maier LS, Wagner S, Dressel R, Lee JH, Nolte J, Wolf, F, Li M, Engel W, Hasenfuß G (2006) Pluripotency of spermatogonial stem cells from adult mouse testis. Nature 440:1199-1203