Head: Prof. Dr. Holger Sültmann

Senior Scientists and Postdocs: Prof. Dr. Peter Altevogt, PD Dr. Sabine Klauck, Dr. Doreen Heckmann-Nötzel, Dr. Steffen Dietz

PhD students: Arlou Kristina Angeles, Sebastian Weingart, Simone Bauer, Ann-Kathrin Daum, Florian Janke

MD students: Sabrina Müller, Lisa Gu, Louise Appenheimer

BSc student: Enrico Black

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
E-Mail: h.sueltmann@dkfz.de

Cancer cells are genetically different from normal cells and often exhibit aberrant genome structures and deregulated gene expression. The characterization of these changes typical for tumor types and stages comprises potential molecular markers for early diagnosis and prognosis and can also provide insights into the mechanisms of tumor progression.

(Epi)genomics and transcriptomics of cancer

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We have successfully established and coordinated interdisciplinary cancer research projects in (NGFNplus and ICGC), and analyzed multiple data sets on the same tumor samples. The initial step in many of our projects consists of applying genomics and epigenomics technologies to identify molecular signatures and genes for tumor stratification. Technology-wise, our focus is on the application and analysis of ultra-high throughput DNA and RNA-Seq and microarrays for DNA mutations and RNA (mRNA, lncRNA miRNA) expression, respectively. We are also analyzing the contributions of epigenomic alterations (DNA methylation, histone modification) to malignant progression and the occurence of therapy resistance.

The analyses of these highly complex data are performed in close collaboration with the Division of Theoretical Bioinformatics at DKFZ.

Analysis of gene and protein function

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To characterize the functions of the genes emerging from our screening studies, we apply cellular functional assays in the individual tumor backgrounds to overexpress or silence (RNAi, CRISPR/Cas9) selected mRNAs or miRNAs and to investigate their impact on tumorigenic processes. In addition, we use proteomics tools (Bioplex) to investigate signaling pathway activities. We also exploit high throughput technologies (e.g. CRISPR/Cas9 screens) to search for synthetic lethal interactions in defined genetic tumor cell backgrounds.

Identification of biomarkers in solid and liquid biopsies

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In order to advance our research results into clinically useful applications, we have identified DNA, mRNA, and miRNA signatures in tissues for the diagnosis and prognosis of cancer and successfully implemented exome seq and digital PCR to quantify circulating nucleic acids (DNA mutations, miRNA abundance) in blood plasma (“liquid biopsy”) for tumor detection, prognosis, and monitoring. Our aim is to translate these markers into the clinical setting and to embed the identification of biomarkers as research efforts into investigator-initiated clinical studies (DKTK, DZL, HIPO).

Former group members:
Dr. Leonie Ratz, Niclas Flosdorf, Anja Riediger, Dr. Vladimir Kuryshev, Clementine Mercé, Dr. Julia Romic-Pickl, Dr. Sajo Kaduthanam, Dr. Uwe Schirmer, 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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