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Head: Prof. Dr. Holger Sültmann

Senior Scientists and Postdocs: PD Dr. Sabine Klauck, Dr. Arlou Kristina Angeles, Dr. Ann-Kathrin Daum, Dr. Florian Janke

Prof. Dr. Petros Christopoulos (Thoraxklinik Heidelberg)

Dr. Anja Riediger and Dr. Samaneh Eickelschulte (Clinical Cooperation Unit "Multiparametric Methods for the Detection of Prostate Cancer", DKFZ and Urological Clinic Heidelberg)

Dr. Andrey Turchinovic (Heidelberg Biolabs)

PhD students:  Myesha Jahin, Mateo Gasser, Ana Rodríguez Ces (University of Santiago de Compostela)

Technical assistants: Sabrina Gerhardt, Simon Ogrodnik



Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Holger Sültmann
DKFZ and NCT Heidelberg
Im Neuenheimer Feld 460
69120 Heidelberg, Germany
Tel.: ++49 6221 565934 
Fax: ++49 6221 565382

Cancer cells differ from normal cells by their microenvironment, altered (epi)genomes, as well as gene and protein expression. The characterization of such changes in tumors and tumor stages is essential for understanding the mechanisms of tumor progression and the definition of molecular markers for diagnosis and prognosis. To this end, the division is working on projects in three different areas of research:

(Epi)genomics and transcriptomics of cancer


Many of our projects apply genomics and epigenomics technologies to identify molecular signatures and genes for tumor stratification. We have successfully established and contributed to interdisciplinary cancer research projects (e.g. ICGC), and analyzed multiple high throughput data sets. Our focus is on the application and data analysis of ultra-high throughput DNA- and RNA-Seq for DNA mutation and RNA (mRNA, lncRNA miRNA) expression, respectively. We also investigate epigenomic alterations (DNA methylation, histone modification) in malignant progression and therapy resistance.

Liquid Biopsy


We are using panel-seq, digital PCR, and whole genome seq to quantify circulating nucleic acids (DNA mutations, miRNA abundance) in blood plasma (“liquid biopsy”). The aims of these analyses are to detect small tumors and to monitor tumor therapy by less invasive procedures. The long-term objective is to translate liquid biopsy markers into the clinical setting.


Tumoren mittels Blutprobe auf der Spur:

Methods for ctDNA detection and analysis:




Analysis of gene and protein function


To characterize the functions of the genes emerging from our screening studies, we apply cellular functional assays in cellular models from selected tumor backgrounds to overexpress or silence (RNAi, CRISPR/Cas9) selected mRNAs or miRNAs and to investigate their impacts on tumorigenic processes. In order to elucidate the global functions of selected RNA and protein molecules, we apply chromatin isolation (ChIP, ChIRP) followed by NGS and mass spectrometry.

More recently, we have developed 3D spheroid coculture models, coupled to scRNA-Seq to identify molecular and cellular factors of cellular crosstalk leading to therapy resistance of lung cancer cells.

Former group members:
Prof. Dr. Peter Altevogt, Dr. Simone Bauer, Dr. Chiara Dalle Fratte, Philipp Hecht, Dr. Steffen Dietz, Alessa Klär, Niclas Flosdorf, Louise Appenheimer, Saskia Müller, Enrico Black, Dr. Doreen Heckmann-Nötzel, Sebastian Weingart, Lisa Gu, Sabrina Müller, Dr. Leonie Ratz, Dr. Anja Riediger, Dr. Vladimir Kuryshev, Clementine Mercé, Dr. Julia Romic-Pickl, Dr. Sajo Kaduthanam, Dr. Uwe Schirmer, Daniel Reidenbach, Denise Keitel, Dr. Ruprecht Kuner, Dr. Helen Hülsmann, Dr. Holger Armbruster, Dr. Mark Laible, Dr. Daniela Wuttig, Dr. Julia Starmann, Jennifer Metzger, Marina Gonzalez, Dr. Lukasz Kacprzyk, Dr. Stephan Gade, Sara Myers, Dr. Maria Fälth, Tatjana Andrasiuk, Dr. Rainer Will, Dr. Marc Johannes, Dr. Jan Christoph Brase, Dr. Stephanie Wittig-Blaich, Dr. Melanie Bewerunge-Hudler, Rita Schatten, Angelika Wörner, Thorsten Kühlwein, Dr. Nicole Chui Pressinotti, Dr. Caroline End, Prof. Dr. Tim Beißbarth, Dr. Alberto Calabró, Dr. Mark Fellmann, Dr. Christian Löbke, Dr. Markus Ruschhaupt, Dr. Van Duc Luu, Dr. Michael Stojanov, Andreas Buneß, Dr. Claudia Heine, Prof. Dr. Holger Fröhlich, Prof. Dr. Achim Tresch, Dr. Jörg Schneider, Dr. Katharina Finis, Dr. Wolfgang Huber, Dr. Markus Vogt, Prof. Dr. Florian Haller, Gabi Rottsahl, Claudia Grosser


German Cancer Consortium (DKTK)

German Center for Lung Research (DZL)

German Federal Ministry for Science and Education (BMBF).

Bruno und Helene Jöster Stiftung

Deutsche Krebshilfe

Heidelberg Institute for Personalized Oncology (HIPO)

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