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Angelika Doetzlhofer, Ph.D.

Angelika Doetzlhofer, Ph.D.

Photo of Dr. Angelika Doetzlhofer, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Neuroscience

Research Interests: Hey transcription factors; Hes transcription factors; Extracellular signals; Balance; Hearing; Organ of Corti; Cochlea; Inner ear; Cell specification and differentiation; Auditory hair cells; Mammalian auditory system more

Contact for Research Inquiries

Johns Hopkins University
855 North Wolfe Street
The Solomon H. Snyder Department of Neuroscience
Baltimore, MD 21205 map
Phone: 410-614-9215
Fax: 410-614-8033

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Dr. Angelika Doetzlhofer is an assistant professor of neuroscience at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. She serves on the faculty of the Johns Hopkins Center for Sensory Biology in the Institute for Basic Biomedical Sciences.

Dr. Doetzlhofer’s research primarily seeks to identify and characterize the molecular mechanisms of hair-cell development in the mammalian auditory system – and to identify the molecular roadblocks that prevent mammalian hair cells from regenerating. This work has important clinical potential for the treatment of patients who suffer from hearing and balance disorders.

She earned both a Ph.D. in molecular biology and an M.S. in biochemistry at the University of Vienna in Austria.

Dr. Doetzlhofer completed a seven-year post-doctoral fellowship in cell and molecular biology—and served as a senior research associate—at House Research Institute before joining the Johns Hopkins faculty in 2008. more


  • Assistant Professor of Neuroscience
  • Assistant Professor of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery



  • Ph.D., University of Vienna (Austria) (2000)

Additional Training

House Research Institute, Los Angeles, CA, 2007, Cell and Molecular Biology

Research & Publications

Research Summary

The Doetzlhofer Lab seeks primarily to identify and characterize the molecular mechanisms that underlie the specification and differentiation of hair cells and supporting cells in the mammalian auditory system.

Dr. Doetzlhofer also is working to identify the molecular roadblocks preventing mammalian hair-cell regeneration.

In mammals, hair-cell generation is limited to embryonic development. Lost hair cells are not replaced, which can lead to deafness and balance disorders.

However, in non-mammalian vertebrates, supporting cells undergo a process of de-differentiation after hair cell loss, and are able to replace lost hair cells by either cell division or direct trans-differentiation.

Her experiments suggest that the lack of mammalian hair cell regeneration is likely due to an absence or blockage of regenerative signals.

Current Doetzlhofer Lab research topics include:

  • The function of Hes and Hey transcription factors in supporting cell differentiation and maintenance
  • Extracellular signals, which control supporting-cell maintenance and potentially limit hair cell regeneration
  • Identification of nuclear factors that control specification of hair cell and supporting cell subtypes

Investigators use mouse genetic approaches, including inner-ear-specific conditional gene targeting and in vitro manipulations of gene function in cochlea tissue and primary-cell culture systems.


Auditory hair cells, located in the inner-ear cochlea, are critical for our ability to detect sound.

In mammals, there are two types of neural innervated hair cells: inner hair cells—our primary mechanoreceptor that relays sound information to the brain—and signal-amplifying outer hair cells.

Inner and outer hair cells are structurally and functionally supported by different types of glial-like supporting cells with which they share a close lineage relationship.

Despite their importance for our ability to hear, little is known about how the different hair cell and supporting cell lineages are specified and what molecular cues trigger their differentiation.


Lab Website: Doetzlhofer Laboratory - Center for Sensory Biology

Selected Publications

Doetzlhofer A, Basch ML, Ohyama T, Gessler M, Groves AK, Segil N. "Hey2 regulation by FGF provides a Notch-independent mechanism for maintaining pillar cell fate in the organ of Corti." Dev Cell. 2009 Jan;16(1):58-69. doi: 10.1016/j.devcel.2008.11.008.

Laine H, Doetzlhofer A, Mantela J, Ylikoski J, Laiho M, Roussel MF, Segil N, Pirvola U. "p19(Ink4d) and p21(Cip1) collaborate to maintain the postmitotic state of auditory hair cells, their codeletion leading to DNA damage and p53-mediated apoptosis." J Neurosci. 2007 Feb 7;27(6):1434-44.

White PM, Doetzlhofer A, Lee YS, Groves AK, Segil N. "Mammalian cochlear supporting cells can divide and trans-differentiate into hair cells." Nature. 2006 Jun 22;441(7096):984-7.

Doetzlhofer A, White P, Lee YS, Groves A, Segil N. "Prospective identification and purification of hair cell and supporting cell progenitors from the embryonic cochlea." Brain Res. 2006 May 26;1091(1):282-8. Epub 2006 Apr 17.

Doetzlhofer A, White P, Johnson JE, Segil N, Groves AK. "In vitro growth and differentiation of mammalian sensory hair cells progenitors: a requirement for EGF and periotic mesenchyme." Dev Biol. 2004 Aug 15;272(2):432-47.

Academic Affiliations & Courses

Graduate Program Affiliation

Neuroscience Graduate Program

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