Karl Kandler, PhD

Professor, Neurobiology


10016 Biomedical Science Tower-3
F: 412-383-5298
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PhD, University of Tubingen, Germany (1993)


Plasticity of inhibitory circuits during development and pathology.

Research Summary

Research in Dr. Kandler's laboratory focuses on the question of how neuronal circuits are established and modified during brain development and how they change under pathological conditions, for example peripheral hearing loss. Ongoing work in a primary sound localization circuit explores the mechanisms by which neuronal activity regulates the organization and maturation of inhibitory connections and their integration with excitatory networks. Another line of research is investigating how abnormal sensory experience affects synaptic circuits in the auditory midbrain.  To this end we apply a variety of physiological (whole-cell patch clamp recordings, 2-P calcium imaging, mapping circuits with photostimulation), anatomical (immunohistochemistry, tracing of neuronal connections), and behavioral (acoustic startle behavior) techniques to normal and genetically altered mice.

Students in Dr. Kandler's laboratory have the opportunity to engage in a variety of research projects addressing the questions listed above. Our laboratory is part of the Auditory Neuroscience Group in the Dept. of Neurobiology providing trainees ample opportunities for crossdisciplinary interactions and collaborations in the field of auditory neuroscience and plasticity.    


Summer Undergraduate Research Program



Sturm JS, Zhang-Hooks Y-Z, Roos H, Nguyen T, and Kandler K, Noise trauma induced behavioral gap detection deficits correlate with reorganization of excitatory and inhibitory local circuits in the inferior colliculus and are prevented by acoustic enrichment. Journal of Neuroscience, 37(26):6314-6330.

Weisz CJC, Rubio ME, Givens RS, and Kandler K (2016). Excitation by axon terminal GABA spillover in a sound localization circuit. Journal of Neuroscience, 36(3):911-925.

Sturm J, Nguyen TD, Kandler K (2014) Development of intrinsic connectivity in the central nucleus of the mouse inferior colliculus. Journal of 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. PMID: 24853941

Noh, J., Seal, R.P., Garver, J.A., Edwards, R.H. and Kandler, K. Glutamate co-release at GABA/glycinergic synapses is crucial for the refinement of an inhibitory map. Nature Neuroscience 13: 232-328, 2010.

Kandler, K., Clause, A. and Noh, J. Tonotopic reorganization of developing auditory brainstem circuits. Nature Neurosci. 12: 711-717, 2009.

Hershfinkel, M., Kandler, K., Knoch, M.E., Dagan-Rabin, M., Aras, M.A., Abramovitch-Dahan, C., Sekler, I. and Aizenman, E. Intracellular zinc inhibits KCC2 transporter activity. Nature Neurosci. 12: 725-727, 2009.

Gillespie DC, Kim G, Kandler K (2005) Inhibitory synapses in the developing auditory system are glutamatergic. Nature Neuroscience, 8: 332-338.

Kim G and Kandler K (2003) Elimination and strengthening of inhibitory synapse during establishment of a tonotopic map. Nature Neuroscience. 6:282-290. 

  • Synapses, Development, Plasticity, Auditory

Jongwon Lee, graduate student (CNUP)

Maryanna Owoc, graduate student (MSTP)

Shang Ma, graduate student (CNUP)

Brian Brockway, Lab Manager

Anna Brewton, Lab technician