Karl Kandler, PhD
Director Auditory Research Group
Professor of Otolaryngology and Neurobiology
UPMC Endowed Chair for Auditory Development and Plasticity
Biomedical Science Tower 3
3501 Fifth Avenue Room 10016
Pittsburgh, PA 15261
Trainees in Dr. Kandler's laboratory have the opportunity to engage in research projects addressing fundamental questions in the plasticity and development of neuronal circuits. Our lab focuses on the mechanisms by which developing auditory circuits become refined, how this is influenced or guided by spontaneous and experience-evoked activity, and how auditory circuits change with hearing impairments (hearing loss, tinnitus).
Our lab uses a variety of state-of-the-art electrophysiological, imaging, anatomical, and behavioral methods, which we applied to normal and genetically modified mice. Our auditory group provides a rich interdisciplinary environment and trainees participate in joint lab-meetings and frequently also engage in cooperative projects with other laboratories of the auditory group (Rubio-lab, Tzounopoulos-lab, Srivatsun lab).
For more information, please email email@example.com
1990 -1993 PhD University of Tübingen, Germany, Advisor: Eckhard Friauf
1993 -1997 Postdoctoral fellow with Dr. L.C. Katz, HHMI and Duke University
1998 -2004 Assistant Professor, Department Neurobiology, University of Pittsburgh
School of Medicine
2004 -2007 Associate Professor Department Neurobiology, University of Pittsburgh
School of Medicine
2007 -2010 Associate Professor, Director of Auditory Research Group, Department
of Otolaryngology and Department of Neurobiology, University of Pittsburgh
School of Medicine
2006-present Adjunct faculty, Department of Biology, Carnegie Mellon University
2010-present Professor, Director of Auditory Research Group, Department of Otolaryngology and Department of Neurobiology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
2014-present Professor, Department of Bioengineering, University of Pittsburgh Swanson
School of Engineering
2015-present UPMC Endowed Chair for Auditory Development and Plasticity
Honors and Awards
1983-1988 Fellow of the German National Scholarship Foundation
(“Studienstiftung des Deutschen Volkes”)
1994-1995 Feodor-Lynen-Fellow of the Alexander von Humboldt - Stiftung
1999-2001 Alfred P. Sloan fellow
2000 Presidential Early Career Award in Science and Engineering
2008 Chair, Gordon Research Conference "The Auditory System"
2010-2012 Chair, NIH Auditory Research Section
2013 Board of Scientific Counselors (ad hoc), National Institute on Deafness
and other Communication Disorders
Development and Plasticity of Auditory Brainstem Circuits
Neuronal Mechanisms underlying Tinnitus
Fast and accurate processing of sound is crucial for hearing, including the localization of sound in space and the perception of language. In order to correctly process auditory information the brain depends on precisely organized neuronal circuits. To achieve the high organization that is present in the mature brain , developing auditory circuits undergo a number of structural and functional changes. Understanding the mechanisms that underlie this developmental reorganization and fine-tuning is important for understanding brain development and is crucial for understanding developmental disorders that are rooted in auditory dysfunction including developmental dyslexia and childhood tinnitus.
Dr. Kandler's laboratory investigates development plasticity of auditory circuits by studying the refinement of neuronal connections in the lateral superior olive (LSO), a nucleus which is involved in sound localization. To this end, Dr. Kandler’s team applies a variety of anatomical and physiological techniques to normal and genetically engineered mice. Current research focuses on the role of neuronal activity and early hearing experience in influencing brain connectivity and on the cellular mechanism by which specific patterns of neuronal activity are translated into specific patterns of connectivity.
International Research Scholar
Medical Scientist Training Program
Past Lab Members Current Position
Catherine Weisz, PhD Acting Chief, Section on Neurnal Circuitry, Intramural Research Program of the NIDCD
Jineta Banerjee, PhD Postdoctoral Fellow, John Hopkins University, School of Medicine
Elisabet Garcia-Pino, PhD Research Assistant Professor, Freie Universitaet, Berlin, Germany
Jason Castro, PhD Assistant Professor, Bates College, Maine
Tuan Nguyen, PhD Assistant Professor, College of NJ, New Jersey
David H. Chi, MD Assistant Professor, Dept. of Otolaryngology, U. of Pittsburgh
Amanda Clause, PhD Postdoctoral Fellow, Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, MA
Jihyun Noh, PhD Assistant Professor, Dankook University, South Korea
Abigail Kalmbach, PhD Postdoctoral Fellow, Columbia University, NY
Hanmi Lee, PhD Postdoctoral Fellow, Stanford University, CA
(for full list see here)
Sturm J, Nguyen TD, Kandler K (2014) Development of intrinsic connectivity in the central nucleus of the mouse inferior colliculus. J. Neuroscience, 34:15032-46
Clause A, Kim G, Sonntag M, Weisz CJC, Vetter DE, Rűbsamen D, Kandler K (2014) The precise temporal pattern of pre-hearing spontaneous activity is necessary for tonotopic map refinement. Neuron, 82:822-35
Nguyen TD, Wirblich C, Aizenman E, Schnell MJ, Strick PL, Kandler K. (2012) Targeted single-neuron infection with rabies virus for transneuronal multisynaptic tracing. J Neurosci Methods. 209:367-370.
Kim G, Kandler K. (2011) Paired recordings from distant inhibitory neuron pairs by a sequential scanning approach. J Neurosci Methods. 200:185-189.
Castro JB, Kandler K (2010) Changing tune in auditory cortex. Nature Neuroscience 13: 271-273.
Noh J, Seal RP, Garver JA, Edwards RH, Kandler K. (2010) Glutamate co-release at GABA/glycinergic synapses is crucial for the refinement of an inhibitory map. Nature Neuroscience 13: 232-328. (Recommended by Faculty 1000)
Aras M, Hara H, Hartnett K, Kandler K, Aizenman E (2009) PKC regulation of intracellular zinc mediates neuronal survival during preconditioning, J. Neurochemistry, 110:106-17. (Recommended by Faculty 1000)
Ene A, Kalmbach A, and Kandler K (2007) Metabotropic glutamate receptors in the lateral superior olive activate TRP-like channels: Age and experience-dependent regulation. J Neurophysiol. 97: 3365–3375.
Kandler K, Clause A, Noh J. (2009) Tonotopic reorganization of developing auditory brainstem circuits. Nature Neuroscience 12:711-717.
Hershfinkel M, Kandler K, Knoch ME, Dagan-Rabin M, Aras MA, Abramovitch-Dahan C, Sekler I, Aizenman E. (2009). Intracellular zinc inhibits KCC2 transporter activity. Nature Neuroscience 12:725-727.
Kullmann PHM and Kandler K (2008) Dendritic Ca2+ responses in neonatal LSO neurons elicited by glycinergic/GABAergic synapses and action potentials. Neuroscience, 12;154(1):338-45.
Seal RP, Akil O, Yi E, Weber CM, Grant L, Yoo J, Clause A, Kandler K, Noebels JL, Glowatzki E, Lustig LR, Edwards RH. (2008) Sensorineural deafness and seizures in mice lacking vesicular glutamate transporter 3. Neuron 57:263-75. (Selected by Faculty 1000)
Gillespie DC, Kim G, Kandler K (2005) Inhibitory synapses in the developing auditory system are glutamatergic. Nature Neuroscience 8: 332-338.
(Cover illustration; "News & Views" commentary, Nature Neuroscience 8:257-258)
Kandler, K and Thiels, E (2005) Flipping the switch from electrical to chemical communication. Nature Neuroscience 8:1633-1634.
Kim G and Kandler K (2003) Elimination and strengthening of inhibitory synapse during establishment of a tonotopic map. Nature Neuroscience. 6: 282-290.
(Commentary in Trends in Neuroscience, 26:456-457)
Kandler K, Katz LC, and Kauer JA (1998) Focal photolysis of caged glutamate reveals an entirely postsynaptic form of hippocampal long-term depression. Nature Neuroscience, 2: 119-123
(See also “News and Views” commentary in Nat. Neuroscience 1:89-90).