- Associate Professor
- Office: 734 647 2720 3063 BSRB
- UMICH Directory (MCommunity)
Diploma in Biochemistry, Free University of Berlin
Ph.D. in Biology, University of Heidelberg
Postdoctoral work at Stanford University and University of California at Berkeley
Teaching and Research
Over the last 20 years my laboratory has investigated the role of cell adhesion molecules (CAMs) in the development, differentiation and functioning of the nervous system. I am interested in learning about their potential involvement in the activation of cellular signaling processes and their role in cell differentiation and gene expression events. Currently, I am focusing on the evolutionary- conserved L1 family of neural CAMs. When mutated in humans, the L1-CAM gene is known to cause mental retardation and other neurological dysfunctions. Over the last 2 years, I have become more focused on teaching. I am currently directing several histology courses at the Medical and the Dental School, as well as a graduate and upper level undergraduate course (CDB450/ 550 "Through the Looking Glass – From Stem Cells to Tissues and Organs"). Besides more traditional modes of teaching, such as regular lectures and laboratory sessions, my courses offer participating students several additional, unique electronic learning resources, such as virtual microscopy. An important aspect of my current work is the development of novel educational tools that are offered to Michigan students and in the future to students at other institutions.
One of these tools, which I recently developed, is a series of PowerPoint files called Second Look, which allows students to self-evaluate their histology proficiency before taking quizzes and exams. As this tool is extremely popular with our students, I am currently working on transforming these files into iPad applications to make them also available to non-University of Michigan students. These efforts are supported by grants from the University of Michigan Center for Research on Learning and Teaching (CRLT) and the Medical School Dean's Office. In addition, I have started to investigate how these new teaching and learning resources influence students' learning and whether they help them to acquire scientific knowledge in a better and more efficient way. Initial results from this study indicate that the manner in which students acquire knowledge in the field of histology is dramatically changing to a more individualized and electronically-enhanced mode of learning.
- Hortsch, Michael, Umemori, Hisashi. The Sticky Synapse — Cell Adhesion Molecules and Their Role in Synapse Formation and Maintenance. Springer Verlag, 2009
- Nagaraj, L.V. Kristiansen, A. Skrzynski, C. Castiella, L. Garcia-Alonso, M. Hortsch: Pathogenic Human L1-CAM Mutations Reduce the Adhesion-dependent Activation of EGFR. Hum. Mol. Genet. 18: 3822-3831, 2009..
- C.J. Schoen, S.B. Emery, M.C. Thorne, H.R. Ammana, E. Sliwerska, J. Arnett, M. Hortsch, F. Hannan, M. Burmeister, M.M. Lesperance. Increased activity of Diaphanous homolog 3 (DIAPH3)/diaphanous causes hearing defects in humans with auditory neuropathy and in Drosophila. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 107: 13396-13401, 2010.
- T. Goossens, Y.Y. Kang, G. Wuytens, P. Zimmermann, Z. Callaert-Vegh, G. Pollarolo, R. Islam, M. Hortsch, P Callaerts. The Drosophila L1CAM homolog Neuroglian signals through distinct pathways to control different aspects of mushroom body axon development. Development 138: 1595-1605, 2011.
- A.B. Gupta, L.E. Wee, Y.T. Zhou, M. Hortsch, and B.C. Low. Cross-species analyses identify the BNIP-2 and Cdc42GAP Homology (BCH) domain as a distinct functional subclass of the CRAL_TRIO/Sec14 superfamily. PLoS ONE 7: e33863(1-13), 2012.
- R. Mualla, K. Nagaraj and M. Hortsch. A Phylogenetic Analysis of the L1 Family of Neural Cell Adhesion Molecules. Neurochem. Res. DOI 10.1007/s11064-012-0892-0, 2012
- K.M. Sikora, L.M. Nosavanh, P. Kantheti, M. Burmeister and M. Hortsch: Expression of Caytaxin Protein in Cayman Ataxia Mouse Models Correlates with Phenotype Severity. PLoS ONE 7:e50570(1-12), 2012.
- M. Hortsch: Virtual Biology: Teaching Histology in the Age of Facebook (editorial). FASEB J. 27:411-413; doi:10.1096/fj.13-0201ufm., 2013.