Hornemann Thorsten

Group Leader

Prof. Dr. Thorsten Hornemann



Name of the Institution

Institute for Clinical Chemistry
University Hospital Zurich


Rämistrasse 100


8091 Zürich


+41-44-255 47 19


Group Members

Assem Zhakupova (PhD)

Irina Alecu (PhD)

Suriyanarayanan Saranya (PhD)

Regula Steiner (PhD)

Gergely Karsai (PhD)

Museer Lone (Postdoc)

Yu Wei (tech)

Main Field(s) of Research, Abstract

The main field of our research is the influence of sphigolipid metabolism on cellular signalling and apoptosis. Ceramides and metabolites thereof are ubiquitous constituents of membrane lipids in mammalian cells and involved in various cellular events like apoptosis, signal transduction and membrane trafficking. A dysfunctuion of the ceramide pathway is the cause for various deseases like HSN1 or Fabry. In our research we investigate the role of de novo sphingolipid synthesis on peripheral neuronal development and axonal regeneration as well as its possible influence in other neurodegenerative diseases like diabetic sensory neuropathy (DSN) or Alzheimer desease. Currently the main focus of our work is the function and regulation of the serine-palmitoyltransferase, a keyenzyme in the de-novo synthesis pathway of sphingolipids.

Main Fields of Research, Keywords

Serine Palmitoyltransferase, Sphigolipids, Lipid metabolism, peripheral neuropatie,HSN1, Sphigosin, Sphinganines

Special Techniques and Equipment

Molecular biology, 2D Gelelektrophoresis, Protein expression/puirification, HPLC, LC-MS/MSs

Education and Training

We have training opportunities for PhD students, PostDocs and medical dissertations.

Selected Publications

Othman, A., et al., Lowering Plasma 1-Deoxysphingolipids Improves Neuropathy in Diabetic Rats. Diabetes, 2014.

Zuellig, R.A., et al., Deoxysphingolipids, novel biomarkers for type 2 diabetes, are cytotoxic for insulin-producing cells. Diabetes, 2014. 63(4): p. 1326-39.

Murphy, S.M., et al., Hereditary sensory and autonomic neuropathy type 1 (HSANI) caused by a novel mutation in SPTLC2. Neurology, 2013. 80(23): p. 2106-11.

Garofalo, K., et al., Oral L-serine supplementation reduces production of neurotoxic deoxysphingolipids in mice and humans with hereditary sensory autonomic neuropathy type 1. J Clin Invest, 2011. 121(12): p. 4735-45.

Penno, A., et al., Hereditary sensory neuropathy type 1 is caused by the accumulation of two neurotoxic sphingolipids. J Biol Chem, 2010. 285(15): p. 11178-87.


European Commission (‘RESOLVE’, project no. 305707), the Swiss National Foundation SNF (project no. 31003A_153390/1), the Hurka Foundation, the Novartis Foundation and the Rare Disease Initiative Zurich (‘radiz’, Clinical Research Priority Program for Rare Diseases, University of Zurich).


Link to "Forschungsdatenbank" of the University