Cardiovascular Sciences
FS Cardiovascular Diseases.png
© MedFak

Research Focus
Cardiovascular Sciences


  • Cardiovascular Sciences was established in mid-2019 as a new research focus at the Medical Faculty of the University of Bonn.

  • In terms of content, the focus is on cardiac, vascular and valve degeneration, metabolism and regeneration mechanisms in the cardiovascular system.

  • The clinical and basic science departments of the focus are also united in the Heart Center of the University Hospital Bonn.


Avatar Fleischmann

Prof. Dr. med. (l) Bernd Fleischmann

Institute of Physiology I

Labor Felix Jansen
© Felix Heyder

At a Glance

Cardiovascular diseases are the most common cause of death in the Western world. Their incidence continues to rise, also because of the obesity pandemic and the increasing aging of society. They are largely caused by disease of the vessels (atherosclerosis). In addition to the vessels and the heart, other organ systems are affected, especially the brain and kidneys.
Interventional therapeutic approaches and devices have significantly reduced mortality from cardiovascular disease in recent years. Nevertheless, mortality and morbidity remain high, the underlying molecular causes are still largely unclear, and causal therapeutic approaches are lacking. This underpins the great relevance of insight-driven basic and clinical research in this field. The aim of our research is to better understand the causes of this widespread disease and to establish new therapeutic concepts for the treatment of patients.

Cardiovascular Sciences was established in mid-2019 as a new research focus at the Medical Faculty of the University of Bonn22. In terms of content, the focus is on cardiac, vascular and valve degeneration, metabolism and regeneration mechanisms in the cardiovascular system. The clinical and basic science departments of the research focus are also united in the  Heart Center of the University Hospital Bonn33. The development of the clinical performance figures of the Heart Center is very positive and the expansion of pediatric cardiology and pediatric cardiac surgery will lead to a further increase in patient numbers. This consolidates the importance of the site for the research and treatment of cardiovascular diseases. There are close scientific interactions with the Immunosciences and Infection and Genetics and Epidemiology research foci of the faculty, cross-faculty interactions with departments (LIMES, Pharmacy, Biology) of the Faculty for Mathematics and Natural Sciences of the University of Bonn, and with the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases.

TAVI (Transcatheter Aortic Valve Implantation)
© Felix Heyder

Current Events

Seminars, events and news can be found on the following pages.


Currently extramurally funded research collaborations sorted alphabetically

Research alliances
DFG: FOR 2372 "G protein signalling cascades: with new molecular probes and modulators towards novel pharmacological concepts"
Speaker: Prof. Evi Kostenis, Institute for Pharmaceutical Biology
Co-Speaker: Prof. Bernd Fleischmann, Institut for Physiologie I

DFG: GRK 1873 "Pharmacology of 7TM-Receptors and Downstream Signalling Pathway"
Speaker: Prof. Alexander Pfeifer, Institute for Pharmacology and Toxicology
Co-Speaker: Prof. Evi Kostenis, Institute for Pharmaceutical Biology

DFG: SFB-TRR 259 "Aortic Disease"
Speaker: Prof. Georg Nickenig, Medical Clinic and Polyclinic II
Co-Speaker: Prof. Malte Kelm, Clinic for Cardiology, Pneumology & Angiology, University of Düsseldorf
Co-Speaker: Prof. Stephan Baldus, Clinic III Internal Medicine, University of Cologne

Clinical studies

BMBF: EPCHF Study 01GY1704 "Early palliative medical intervention in patients with heart failure".
Project Management: PD Dr. Marc Ulrich Becher, Medical Clinic and Policlinic II

Else-Kröner Fresenius Foundation "Cyclodextrin in patients with advanced coronary artery disease".
Speaker: PD Dr. Sebastian Zimmer, Medical Clinic and Polyclinic II
Speaker: Dr. Peter Düwell, Institute for Innate Immunity

Junior research group funding
Corona Junior Research Group " Extracellular vesicles: novel innovative biomarkers, effectors and therapeutic targets in cardiovascular diesease"
Speaker: PD. Dr. Felix Jansen, Medical Clinic and Polyclinic II

Participation in national alliances
DFG SFB 1328 "Adenine Nucleotides in Immunity and Inflammation"
Speaker: Prof. Andreas H. Guse (Hamburg), Institute of Biochemistry and Signal Transduction, University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf
Coordinator Bonn: Prof. Christa E. Müller, Institute of Pharmacy
Subproject A09: Prof. Alexander Pfeifer, Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology

DFG FOR 2743 "Mechanical Stress Protection"
Speaker: Prof. Jörg Höhfeld, Institute of Cell Biology, University of Bonn
Subproject P2: PD Dr. Michael Hesse, Institute of Physiology

DFG SFB 1425 "Heterocellular Nature of Cardiac Lesions: Identities, Interactions, Implications"
Speaker: Prof. Peter Kohl, Experimental Cardiovascular Medicine, University of Freiburg
Co-Speaker: Prof. Lutz Hein, Institute for Experimental & Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology, University of Freiburg
Subproject P14: Prof. Bernd Fleischmann, Institute of Physiology I, University of Bonn and Prof. Wilhelm Röll, Clinic and Policlinic for Cardiac Surgery, University of Bonn

Institute for Biophysical chemistry

Heinrich-Heine-University Düsseldorf:
Experimental Vascular Medicine
Institute of Molecular Cardiology
Institute of Pharmacology and Clinical Pharmacology
Department of Cardiology, Pneumology & Angiology

University Hospital Gießen und Marburg:
Institute for Human Genetics

University of Cologne:
Center for Molecular Medicine Cologne
Institute of Biochemistry II 
Institute of Genetics
Clinic III for Internal Medicine
Max Planck Institute for Metabolic Disorders

University of Amsterdam:
Department of Medical Biochemistry

Primarily associated institutes & clinics of the Medical Faculty:

Institute for Experimental Hematology and Transfusion Medicine
Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology
Institute of Physiology I
Clinic and Polyclinic for Anesthesiology and Surgical Intensive Care Medicine
Clinic and Polyclinic for Cardiac Surgery
Clinic and Polyclinic for Nuclear Medicine
Medical Clinic and Polyclinic II
Department of Obstetrics and Prenatal Medicine of the Center for Obstetrics and Gynecology
Department of Pediatric Cardiac Surgery of the Center for Pediatrics
Department of Pediatric Cardiology of the Center for Pediatrics

Associated institutes & clinics of the Medical Faculty and the University of Bonn:

Institute for Innate Immunity, Medical Faculty
Institute for Experimental Immunology, Medical Faculty
Institute of Family Medicine, Medical Faculty
Institute of Human Genetics, Medical Faculty
Institute of Clinical Chemistry and Clinical Pharmacology, Medical Faculty
Institute of Molecular Immunology and Cell Biology, Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences
Institute of Pharmaceutical Biology, Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences
Institute of Cell Biology, Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences
Clinic for Palliative Medicine, Medical Faculty
Life & Medical Sciences Institute (LIMES), Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences:Prof. Andreas Schlitzer, Quantitative Systems Biology
Prof. Elvira Mass, Developmental Biology of the Immune System
Pharmaceutical Institute, Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences

  • Prof. Dr. Philipp Sasse6, Institute of Physiology I: Heisenberg Professorship "Cardiac Optogenetics"
  • PD Dr. Felix Jansen7, Medical Clinic and Polyclinic II: Corona Foundation - Junior Research Group „Extracellular Vesicles: Novel Innovative Biomarkers, Effectors and Therapeutic Targets in Cardiovascular Disease”
  • PD Dr. Sebastian Zimmer7, Medical Clinic and Polyclinic II:
    Else Kröner Fresenius Foundation "Cyclodextrin in patients with advanced coronary artery disease".
    Research Award of the Working Group "Heart and Diabetes", German Society of Cardiology
  • Members of the Leopoldina - National Academy of Sciences: 
    Prof. Alexander Pfeifer, Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology (since 2016)
    Prof. Bernd Fleischmann, Institute of Physiology I (since 2017)

Incidence, Risk Factors and Impact on Long-Term Outcome of Postoperative Delirium After Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement
Mauri, Victor, Kevin Reuter, Maria I Körber, Hendrik Wienemann, Samuel Lee, Kaveh Eghbalzadeh, Elmar Kuhn, Baldus Stephan, Kelm Malte, Nickenig Georg, Veulemans Verena, Jansen Felix, Adam Matti, Rudolph Tanja K. Frontiers in Cardiovascular Medicine, 2021 Mar 26,8, 229; DOI: 10.3389/fcvm.2021.645724


A new MMP-mediated prodomain cleavage mechanism to activate bone morphogenetic proteins from the extracellular matrix
Furlan AG, Spanou CES, Godwin ARF, Wohl AP, Zimmermann LA, Imhof T, Koch M, Baldock C, Sengle G. FASEB J. 2021 Mar;35(3):e21353. DOI: 10.1096/fj.202001264R. PMID: 33629769.

Smartphone-guided secondary prevention for patients with coronary artery disease
Eckardt I, Buschhaus C, Nickenig G, Jansen F. J Rehabil Assist Technol Eng. 2021 Mar 16;8:2055668321996572. DOI: 10.1177/2055668321996572. PMID: 33796334; PMCID: PMC7970225.


Phenotyping placental oxygenation in Lgals1 deficient mice using 19F MRI
Boehm-Sturm P, Mueller S, Freitag N, Borowski S, Foddis M, Koch SP, Temme S, Flögel U, Blois SM. Sci Rep. 2021 Jan 22;11(1):2126. DOI: 10.1038/s41598-020-80408-9. PMID: 33483548; PMCID: PMC7822814


CX3CR1 Is a Prerequisite for the Development of Cardiac Hypertrophy and Left Ventricular Dysfunction in Mice upon Transverse Aortic Constriction
Weisheit, Christina Katharina, Jan Lukas Kleiner, Maria Belen Rodrigo, Sven Thomas Niepmann, Sebastian Zimmer, Georg Daniel Duerr, Mark Coburn, Christian Kurts, Stilla Frede, and Lars Eichhorn. PLoS One. 2021 Jan 7; 16(1):e0243788. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0243788

Vascular pathologies in chronic kidney disease: pathophysiological mechanisms and novel therapeutic approaches
Philip Düsing, Andreas Zietzer, Philip Roger Goody, Mohammed Rabiul Hosen, Christian Kurts, Georg Nickenig, Felix Jansen. J Mol Med, 2021 Jan 5. DOI: 10.1007/s00109-021-02037-7

Helix-Loop-Helix Factor Id3 (Inhibitor of Differentiation 3): A Novel Regulator of Hyaluronan-Mediated Adipose Tissue Inflammation
Misiou, Angelina, James C. Garmey, Jack M. Hensien, Daniel B. Harmon, Victoria Osinsk, Chantel McSkimming, Melissa A. Marshall, Jens W. Fischer, Maria Grandoch, Coleen A. McNamara. Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology, 2020 Dec 31, 41, 796–807; DOI: 10.1161/atvbaha.120.315588


Quantification of Lipoprotein Uptake in Vivo Using Magnetic Particle Imaging and Spectroscopy
Hildebrand, Staffan, Norbert Löwa, Hendrik Paysen, Raluca M. Fratila, Laia Reverte-Salisa, Thithawat Trakoolwilaiwan, Zheming Niu, Georgios Kasparis, Stephanie Franziska Preuss, Olaf Kosch, Jesus M. de la Fuente, Nguyen Thi Kim Thanh, Frank Wiekhorst, and Alexander Pfeifer. 2020 Dec 11.  ACS Nano. DOI: 10.1021/acsnano.0c03229.


The role of noncoding RNAs during aortic valve stenosis
Goody, Philip Roger, Mohammed Rabiul Hosen, Dominik Christmann, Sven Thomas Niepmann, Andreas Zietzer, Matti Adam, Florian Bönner, Sebastian Zimmer, Georg Nickenig, and Felix Jansen
European Heart Journal 41(Supplement_2), 2020, Nov 25, DOI: 10.1093/ehjci/ehaa946.1870


MicroRNA-mediated vascular intercellular communication is altered in chronic kidney disease
Andreas Zietzer, Eva Steffen, Sven Niepmann, Philip Düsing, Mohammed Rabiul Hosen, Weiyi Liu, Paul Jamme, Baravan Al-Kassou, Philipp Roger Goody, Sebastian Zimmer, Katrin S Reiners, Alexander Pfeifer, Michael Böhm, Nikos Werner, Georg Nickenig, Felix Jansen
Cardiovascular Research cvaa322, 2020 Nov. 02, DOI: 10.1093/cvr/cvaa322

Risk of Mortality Following Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement for Low-Flow Low-Gradient Aortic Stenosis
Wilde, Nihal, Atsushi Sugiura, Alexander Sedaghat, Marc Ulrich Becher, Malte Kelm, Stephan Baldus, Georg Nickenig, Verena Veulemans, and Vedat Tiyerili.
Clinical Research in Cardiology, 2020, Oct. 14. DOI: 10.1007/s00392-020-01752-4.


Integrative Multi-Omics Analysis in Calcific Aortic Valve Disease Reveals a Link to the Formation of Amyloid-Like Deposits
Marina A. Heuschkel, Nikolaos T. Skenteris, Joshua D. Hutcheson, Dewy D. van der Valk, Juliane Bremer, Philip Goody, Jesper Hjortnaes, Felix Jansen, Carlijn V.C. Bouten, Antoon van den Bogaerdt, Ljubica Matic, Nikolaus Marx and Claudia Goettsch
Cells 2020 Sep 24, 9(10), 2164; DOI: 10.3390/cells9102164


The RNA-binding protein hnRNPU regulates the sorting of microRNA-30c-5p into large extracellular vesicles
Andreas Zietzer, Mohammed Rabiul Hosen, Han Wang, Philip Roger Goody, Marc Sylvester, Eicke Latz, Georg Nickenig, Nikos Werner & Felix Jansen (2020), Journal of Extracellular Vesicles, 9:1, DOI: 10.1080/20013078.2020.1786967


Adenosine/A2B Receptor Signaling Ameliorates the Effects of Aging and Counteracts Obesity
Thorsten Gnad, Gemma Navarro, Minna Lahesmaa, Laia Reverte-Salisa, Francesca Copperi, Arnau Cordomi, Jennifer Naumann, Aileen Hochhäuser, Saskia Haufs-Brusberg, Daniela Wenzel, Frank Suhr, Naja Zenius Jespersen, Camilla Scheele, Volodymyr Tsvilovskyy, Christian Brinkmann, Joern Rittweger, Christian Dani, Mathias Kranz, Winnie Deuther-Conrad, Holger K. Eltzschig, Tarja Niemi, Markku Taittonen, Peter Brust, Pirjo Nuutila, Leonardo Pardo, Bernd K. Fleischmann, Matthias Blüher, Rafael Franco, Wilhelm Bloch, Kirsi A. Virtanen, Alexander Pfeifer
Cell Metab. 2020 Jun 22;S1550-4131(20)30307-7.doi:10.1016/j.cmet.2020.06.006.
PMID: 32589947


MicroRNAs As Master Regulators of Atherosclerosis: From Pathogenesis to Novel Therapeutic Options
Mohammed Rabiul Hosen, Philip Roger Goody, Andreas Zietzer, Georg Nickenig, and Felix Jansen
Antioxid Redox Signal. 2020;10.1089/ars.2020.8107. DOI:10.1089/ars.2020.8107
PMID: 32408755


Thymic stromal lymphopoietin is a key cytokine for the immunomodulation of atherogenesis with Freund's adjuvant
Martin Steinmetz, Ludivine Laurans, Sarah Nordsiek, Lena Weiß, Bieke van der Veken, Padmapriya Ponnuswamy, Bruno Esposito, Marie Vandestienne, Andreas Giraud, Cristina Göbbel, Eva Steffen, Tobias Radecke, Stephane Potteaux, Georg Nickenig, Tienush Rassaf, Alain Tedgui, Ziad Mallat
Journal of Cellular and Molecular Medicine 2020 May;24(10) 5731-5739; DOI: 10.1111/jcmm.15235
PMID: 32285594


In vivo detection of programmed cell death during mouse heart development
Kristel Martínez-Lagunas, Yoshifumi Yamaguchi, Cora Becker, Caroline Geisen, Marco C. DeRuiter, Masayuki Miura, Bernd K. Fleischmann and Michael Hesse
Cell Death & Differentiation 2020 Apr; 27(4):1398-1414, DOI: 10.1038/s41418-019-0426-2
PMID: 31570857


Aortic Valve Stenosis – From Basic Mechanisms to Novel Therapeutic Targets
Philip Roger Goody, Mohammed Rabiul Hosen, Dominik Christmann, Sven Thomas Niepmann, Andreas Zietzer, Matti Adam, Florian Bönner, Sebastian Zimmer, Georg Nickenig, Felix Jansen
Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology 2020 Apr;40(4):885–900; DOI: 10.1161/ATVBAHA.119.313067
PMID: 32160774


cGMP manipulation in cardiometabolic disease: chances and challenges.
Jens Jordan, Staffan Hildebrand, Alexander Pfeifer
Curr Opin Cardiol. 2019;34(4):376-383. doi:10.1097/HCO.0000000000000630
PMID: 30994530


Graded Murine Wire-Induced Aortic Valve Stenosis Model Mimics Human Functional and Morphological Disease Phenotype
Sven Thomas Niepmann, Eva Steffen, Andreas Zietzer, Matti Adam, Julia Nordsiek, Isabella Gyamfi-Poku, Kerstin Piayda, Jan-Malte Sinning, Stephan Baldus, Malte Kelm, Georg Nickenig, Sebastian Zimmer, Christine Quast
Clin Res Cardiol. 2019 Aug;108(8):847-856. doi: 10.1007/s00392-019-01413-1.
PMID: 30767058


Impact of Hemodynamic Support on Outcome in Patients Undergoing High-Risk Percutaneous Coronary Intervention
Jasmin Shamekhi, Andrea Pütz, Sebastian Zimmer, Vedat Tiyerili, Fritz Mellert, Armin Welz, Rolf Fimmers, Eberhard Grube, Georg Nickenig, Nikos Werner, Jan-Malte Sinning
Am J Cardiol. 2019 Jul 1;124(1):20-30. doi: 10.1016/j.amjcard.2019.03.050.
PMID: 31056109


Stand: 07.04.2021

Promotion of Young Talent

Education Structure

Integrated Reasearch Training Group Aortic Disease (iRTG - TRR259)
Management: PD Felix Jansen, Medical Clinic and Policlinic II
Prof. Gerhard Sengle, Institute for Biochemistry II, University of Cologne
Dr. Markus Wagenhäuser, Clinic for Vascular and Endovascular Surgery, Düsseldorf University Hospital

The goal of the iRTG is to train talented PhD/MD students to become the next generation of cardiovascular scientists and physicians. An interdisciplinary and structured program of the iRTG guarantees close collaboration between the different research groups in general and in particular the exchange of basic scientists and clinicians to deepen cardiovascular expertise. The young scientists can thus be taught basic immunological, pathophysiological and pharmacological principles of the development of aortic diseases in an interdisciplinary manner. The young scientists learn state-of-the-art technologies for conducting basic research through regular workshops and exchange among themselves. Comprehensive on-site mentoring, regular progress reporting, retreats, and career development activities such as statistics courses and soft-skill workshops are an important component of the iRTG.

The iRTG promotes the transfer of knowledge of basic research results towards clinical application. The special clinical workshops are designed to introduce students to cardiovascular medicine with all its modern diagnostic and therapeutic approaches, while highlighting unmet medical needs and challenges in patient care.

Furthermore, clinical research during or even after residency training is to be strengthened. To this end, TRR259 awards fellowships to young physicians from clinical institutions, giving them the opportunity to completely interrupt their clinical work already during their residency training in order to exclusively pursue their scientific work. These fellows are involved in the iRTG.

Bonn International Graduate School of Drug Science (BIGS DrugS)
Management: Spokesperson: Prof. Alexander Pfeifer, Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology
Speaker: Prof. Christa E. Müller, Institute of Pharmacy, Pharmaceutical & Medicinal Chemistry

The BIGS DrugS is a structured training program focusing on pharmacological and pharmaceutical sciences. The program was founded in 2010 and is part of the Bonn International Graduate School (BIGS). Talented young scientists are offered a three-year structured program with a focus on basic and applied research for the development of new drugs and therapies. In the process, scientists explore new pharmacological targets, new chemical and biological main components as innovative therapeutic approaches. Concepts based on stem cells, RNA or nanotechnology are developed. The development of therapies for common diseases of the nervous and cardiovascular systems is of particular interest.
In addition to workshops, lectures, colloquia, and symposia, mentoring by 2 experienced scientists is an important component of BIGS DrugS.

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