Professorships of 2021

In 2021, the Faculty of Medicine appointed the following professors to the University of Bonn:

Eine Wissenschaftlerin und ein Wissenschaftler arbeiten hinter einer Glasfassade und mischen Chemikalien mit Großgeräten.
© Sara Moradi

Prof. Dr. Verena Hörr

University Professorship (W2) for Cardiovascular Imaging

Verena Hörr was appointed Professor of Cardiovascular Imaging at the Heart Center in the UKB Medical Clinic and Polyclinic II in October 2021.

Prof. Hörr's scientific career began with her studies in pharmacy at the renowned universities of Heidelberg and Würzburg, which she completed in 2002 with her license to practice medicine. 

While spending part of her practical year at the University Hospital in Mbarara, Uganda, she discovered her interest in tropical pharmacy and decided to pursue additional specialization in this field at the Mission Medical Institute in Würzburg. Immediately afterwards, she began work on her dissertation in the Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, also at the University of Würzburg.

In order to also better understand and adapt the physical component of her research work, she also decided to study physics in parallel, which she completed with a diploma in 2008. This dual education allowed her to gain extensive knowledge in both the technical background and the application of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) techniques. With this background, she was able to secure a Full Time Fellowship in 2008 for nearly two years of research at the Bio-NMR Centre at the University of Calgary, Canada.

In 2010, she returned to Germany as a project leader and started her work on "Magnetic Resonance Imaging for Infectious and Cardiovascular Disease Models" at Münster University Hospital. From then on, she focused on the development of molecular and cardiovascular MRI techniques for imaging infectious and inflammatory processes. After a further stay abroad at the Technical University in Eindhoven, The Netherlands, she moved to the University Hospital Jena in 2015, where she habilitated in the field of Experimental Radiology in 2017 and headed the research unit "Hemodynamics" until recently.

We are pleased to welcome Prof. Hörr to our faculty and wish her all the best for her start.

Prof. Dr. Kerstin Wilhelm-Jüngling

Junior Professor (W1) for Endothelial Signaling and Metabolism

On September 1, Dr. Kerstin Wilhelm-Jüngling accepted a junior professorship in Endothelial Signaling and Metabolism at the Medical Faculty of the University of Bonn.

She already demonstrated her scientific talent and research ambition during her doctoral studies. In 2017, she was awarded the Otto Hahn Medal for her doctoral thesis in the field of vascular biology at the Max Planck Institute for Heart and Lung Research. In the same year, she also received the Werner Risau Prize of the German Society for Cell Biology for her research work. Dr. Wilhelm-Jüngling's further academic career also took her beyond the country's borders. This includes stays in Sweden, the USA and Belgium.

Wilhelm-Jüngling, Kerstin
© Johann F. Saba

Her current research focuses on lymphangiogenesis. In particular, she is concerned with the influence of a lipid- or fat-rich environment on the behavior of cells in lymphatic tissue. A weakened lymphatic system is particularly common in individuals suffering from obesity or hypercholesterolemia. The direct consequences are diseases such as atherosclerosis or the occurrence of secondary lymphedema. This is where Dr. Wilhelm-Jüngling would like to start and show ways for new therapeutic approaches. She has already published her findings in numerous publications, including two in the renowned journal Nature.

We are very much looking forward to working with Dr. Wilhelm-Jüngling and wish her all the best for her start in Bonn!

© Ingrid Kuhlen / UK Bonn

Prof. Dr. Stephan Jonas

Professorship (W3) for Medical Informatics

Prof. Dr. Stephan Jonas heads the new Institute for Medical Informatics at Bonn University Hospital. As part of the new professorship, the 38-year-old computer scientist wants to research how medically relevant patient data can be digitally collected, analyzed and made usable for studies or clinical processes. He sees this as an efficient way to further improve and individualize patient care. He also has an eye on data processing that complies with data protection regulations and protects privacy.

Until recently, he was a professor of digital health at the Technical University of Munich, where he conducted research on supporting preventive health through mobile devices.

Prof. Dr. Farhad Bakhtiary

Professorship (W3) for Cardiac Surgery

The renowned heart specialist does not have to think long about why he became a heart surgeon. "The human heart is a true miracle, and even after many thousands of operations, the heart has lost none of its fascination for me." Prof. Dr. Farhad Bakhtiary's specialty is minimally invasive surgery, which is much gentler on patients than conventional surgical procedures. 

© Felix Heyder / UK Bonn

He has taken over as head of the Clinic for Cardiac Surgery at Bonn University Hospital. The 45-year-old succeeds Prof. Dr. Hendrik Treede as Clinic Director, who moved to the University Medical Center Mainz in the spring. Previously, Prof. Bakhtiary was Director of Cardiac Surgery at the Helios Clinics in Siegburg and Wuppertal and held the Chair of Cardiac Surgery at the University of Witten/Herdecke.

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© HCM/Uni Bonn

Prof. Dr. Kevin Thurley

Professorship (W2) for Biomathematics

Prof. Dr. Kevin has been appointed Professor of Biomathematics at the Medical Faculty of the University of Bonn as of February 1, 2021. His research is at the interface of biology and mathematics. By linking mathematical modeling and statistical data analysis, he contributed to new insights, such as biological clocks, stochastic intracellular signaling, and the regulation of cell motility. A major focus of his work is the analysis of networks of cell-cell communication in the immune system. A particular concern of Kevin Thurley is to improve collaboration between biology and mathematics and to facilitate mutual understanding. The excellence clusters ImmunoSensation2 and Hausdorff Center of Mathematics (HCM) provide the ideal environment for this and strengthen the collaboration institutionally. Junior research groups in the field of mathematical modeling in the life and medical sciences have been established for this purpose. 

The scientist received his PhD in theoretical biophysics in Berlin and Cambridge in 2011, followed by postdoctoral stays in Berlin and San Francisco and a junior research group funded by the Leibniz Association at the German Rheumatism Research Center in Berlin.
Source: Uni Bonn

Prof. Dr. Sebastian Zimmer

Professorship (W2) for Molecular Cardiology

Sebastian Zimmer succeeded Prof. Nikos Werner as Professor of Molecular Cardiology at the Medical Clinic and Polyclinic II on January 1, 2021.

Prof. Zimmer grew up in Maryland (USA) and initially came to Bonn to study medicine in 2000. 


Soon, the beautiful city on the Rhine also developed into a new home for the young physician, and so he decided to stay in Bonn for his residency after graduation. His choice fell on the subject of cardiology. From the very beginning, he was a committed member of the Medical Clinic and Polyclinic II under the direction of Prof. Georg Nickenig and pursued his own research activities with great ambition. He focused his research on the role of the innate immune system in the course of vascular diseases such as atherosclerosis and aortic valve stenosis.

To support his scientific activities, Prof. Zimmer was able to acquire a Gerok grant from the faculty's BONFOR funding institution in 2008 and another BONFOR grant in 2011 to establish his own junior research group. In 2013, he completed his residency in "Internal Medicine and Cardiology" and in 2017, the Medical Faculty of the University of Bonn awarded him the Venia Legendi for the teaching area "Internal Medicine". As a subproject leader, he was also successfully involved in the acquisition of the Transregio SFB 259 Aortic Disease in 2019.

Ambition and determination play a major role for Prof. Zimmer not only in his personal career development, but also in his favorite hobby, road cycling. Here he proved to be extremely successful, especially in his youth, and as a member of the US Jr. national team took part in the World Championships and World Cup races several times.

We warmly congratulate Prof. Zimmer on his appointment at the Medical Faculty Bonn. His academic and clinical development ideally illustrates how the various funding instruments of the University Medical Center Bonn support the career path of the Clinician Scientist. With his professorship, he now works at the interface between our two main research areas "Immunosciences and Infection" and "Cardiovascular Sciences". We look forward to continuing to work with him in his new position.

© Rolf Müller / UKB

Prof. Dr. Matthias Weigl

Professorship (W3) for Patient Safety

The Institute for Patient Safety (IfPS) at Bonn University Hospital researches the complex causes of errors in patient care and reviews the effectiveness of measures to prevent them. It is the only research institute in Germany with this focus.

Prof. Dr. Matthias Weigl now takes over as director of the IfPS. His research focuses range from teamwork in acute care to the work situation in healthcare. The 44-year-old is also researching the effects of digitization on stress and performance as well as on the quality of clinical care. Prof. Weigl comes from LMU Munich, where he worked at the Institute for Occupational, Social and Environmental Medicine for 15 years. International research stays have taken him to the Center for Patient Safety and Service Quality at Imperial College London and several times to the USA.

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Prof. Dr. Felix Meißner

Professorship (W3) for Systems Immunology

Felix Meißner took up the W3 professorship for Systems Immunology at the Institute of Innate Immunity on January 01, 2021. The professorship is associated with the Cluster of Excellence "Immunosensation2".

Already during his biochemistry studies in Berlin, the native Berliner was fascinated by the body's own defense mechanisms of the innate immune system. To further deepen his immunological expertise, Prof. Meißner completed his PhD at the Max Planck Institute (MPI) for Infection Biology in the renowned laboratory of Prof. Arturo Zychlinsky, graduating summa cum laude in 2008. Subsequently, he moved to the MPI for Biochemistry in Martinried/Munich to Prof. Mann to further his training in quantitative proteome analyses for the analysis of the immune system. 

© privat

 After a post-doc phase of several years, a stay abroad at the University of San Francisco and external evaluation, Prof. Meißner became head of an independent research group for "Experimental Systems Immunology" at the MPI of Biochemistry in 2015. The scientific focus of his research is the investigation of interactions of different task forces of the immune system by using mass spectrometric methods to elucidate their communication in molecular detail. The scientific work of Prof. Meißner and his team has been published in numerous renowned journals.

In the context of his professorship, Prof. Meißner would like to use his expertise in mass spectrometric proteome analyses, biochemistry and systems biology to investigate how endogenous and exogenous signals are perceived by the immune system and transmitted within or between different immune cells to elicit an immune response. Prof. Meißner and his team investigate these complex processes in an inflammatory, neurodegenerative as well as oncological context, thus perfectly complementing the research focus in Bonn.

We are very pleased to welcome Prof. Meißner to our faculty and wish him all the best for his start.

© privat

Prof. Dr. Tobias Bald

Professorship (W2) for Tumor Immunobiology

Tobias Bald took up the professorship of Tumor Immunobiology with tenure track on January 01, 2021. The professorship is affiliated to the Institute of Experimental Oncology and closely associated with the Cluster of Excellence "Immunosensation2".

In recent years, the center of Mr. Bald's life was a good distance away from Bonn. Since 2016, he has been living with his family in Brisbane, Australia, and has been pursuing his research activities at the QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute there. In the last two years, he led his own junior research group for "Oncology and Cellular Immunology" at the institute. Now, however, it is "back to the roots" for the native Rhinelander. He is already well acquainted with Bonn, having visited the beautiful city on the Rhine in 2005.

At that time, he began his studies in molecular biomedicine at the Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität and left about ten years later after successfully completing his doctoral thesis summa cum laude. 

Already during his studies and his PhD in dermatology with Prof. Tüting, tumor immunology was the focus of his scientific interest. His research work is therefore aimed at gaining a better understanding of the communication between tumor and immune cells. He considers this factor essential to support the immune system in its defense function against cancer cells and thus to develop more effective and targeted therapies. He has received several awards for his scientific achievements in this field, including the Egon-Macher Prize by the Arbeitsgemeinschaft Dermatologische Forschung and an EMBO long-term Fellowship.

With his expertise in tumor immunology, Prof. Bald will further strengthen the interface of the research areas "Immunosciences and Infection" and "Oncology". We are very pleased to welcome Prof. Bald back to our faculty and wish him all the best for his start.

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