Prof. Dr. Christof Niehrs

Project Leader B01

German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ)
Division of Molecular Embryology
Im Neuenheimer Feld 280
69120 Heidelberg

Prof. Dr. Christof Niehrs

Professional Career

since 2010

Founding and Scientific Director

Institute for Molecular Biology (IMB) Mainz

since 2010

Chair of Developmental Biology (W3)

Johannes Gutenberg University, Mainz



DKFZ-ZMBH Alliance, Heidelberg


Chair of the Scientific Council

DKFZ (Wissenschaftlicher Rat)



Research Program Cell and Tumor Biology, DKFZ, Heidelberg


Chair of Molecular Embryology (C4)

DKFZ and Heidelberg University

since 1994

Head of Division of Molecular Embryology

DKFZ, Heidelberg


Postdoctoral research fellow

E.M. De Robertis, University of California, Los Angeles, USA


Habilitation and venia legendi

Faculty of Biology (Zoology), Heidelberg University



EMBL, Heidelberg; Advisor: Dr. W.B. Huttner


Diploma in Biochemistry

Free University of Berlin

Achievements & Awards


ERC Advanced Grant II

European Research Council (ERC)


Honorary Member

American Academy of Arts and Sciences



Akademie der Wissenschaften und der Literatur Mainz


ERC Advanced Grant I

European Research Council (ERC)



Heidelberg Academy of the Sciences


Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Award

DFG (German Research Foundation)



Deutsche Akademie der Naturforscher Leopoldina Halle


Research Award

Federal State of Baden-Württemberg


Otto Mangold Award

German Society of Developmental Biology


EMBO Gold Medal Award

European Molecular Biology Organization


Biology Award

Academy of Sciences, Göttingen


EMBO Member

European Molecular Biology Organization


DEAD box RNA helicases act as nucleotide exchange factors for casein kinase 2

Fatti E, Hirth A, Švorinić A, Günther M, Stier G, Cruciat CM, Acebrón SP, Papageorgiou D, Sinning I, Krijgsveld J, Höfer T, Niehrs C. Sci Signal. 2023 Apr 25;16(782):eabp8923. doi: 10.1126/scisignal.abp8923. Epub 2023 Apr 25. PMID: 37098120

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Mucociliary Wnt signaling promotes cilia biogenesis and beating

Seidl C, Da Silva F, Zhang K, Wohlgemuth K, Omran H, Niehrs C. Nat Commun. 2023 Mar 6;14(1):1259. doi: 10.1038/s41467-023-36743-2. PMID: 36878953

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Primary cilia are WNT-transducing organelles whose biogenesis is controlled by a WNT-PP1 axis

Zhang K, Da Silva F, Seidl C, Wilsch-Bräuninger M, Herbst J, Huttner WB, Niehrs C. Dev Cell. 2023 Jan 23;58(2):139-154.e8. doi: 10.1016/j.devcel.2022.12.006. PMID: 36693320

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Uncoupling the BMP receptor antagonist function from the WNT agonist function of R-spondin 2 using the inhibitory peptide dendrimer RWd

Lee H, Sun R, Niehrs C. J Biol Chem. 2022 Jan 12:101586. doi: 10.1016/j.jbc.2022.101586. Online ahead of print.
PMID: 35032551

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The role of Xenopus developmental biology in unraveling Wnt signalling and antero-posterior axis formation

Niehrs C. Dev Biol. 2022 Feb;482:1-6. doi: 10.1016/j.ydbio.2021.11.006. Epub 2021 Nov 21. PMID: 34818531

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A MET-PTPRK kinase-phosphatase rheostat controls ZNRF3 and Wnt signaling

Kim M, Reinhard C, Niehrs C. Elife. 2021 Sep 30;10:e70885. doi: 10.7554/eLife.70885.
PMID: 34590584

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RSPO2 inhibits BMP signaling to promote self-renewal in acute myeloid leukemia

Sun R, He L, Lee H, Glinka A, Andresen C, Hübschmann D, Jeremias I, Müller-Decker K, Pabst C, Niehrs C. Cell Rep. 2021 Aug 17;36(7):109559. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2021.109559.
PMID: 34407399

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R-spondins are BMP receptor antagonists in Xenopus early embryonic development

Lee H, Seidl C, Sun R, Glinka A, Niehrs C. Nat Commun. 2020 Nov 4;11(1):5570. 

PMID: 33149137

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The tumor suppressor PTPRK promotes ZNRF3 internalization and is required for Wnt inhibition in the Spemann organizer

Chang LS, Kim M, Glinka A, Reinhard C, Niehrs C. Elife. 2020 Jan 14;9. pii: e51248. PMID: 31934854

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Cancer cell specific inhibition of Wnt/β-catenin signaling by forced intracellular acidification

Melnik S, Dvornikov D, Müller-Decker K, Depner S, Stannek P, Meister M, Warth A, Thomas M, Muley T, Risch A, Plass C, Klingmüller U, Niehrs C, Glinka A. Cell Discov. 2018 Jul 3;4:37. PMID: 29977599

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Stk33 is required for spermatid differentiation and male fertility in mice

Martins LR, Bung RK, Koch S, Richter K, Schwarzmüller L, Terhardt D, Kurtulmus B, Niehrs C, Rouhi A, Lohmann I, Pereira G, Fröhling S, Glimm H, Scholl C. Dev Biol. 2018 Jan 1;433(1):84-93. doi: 10.1016/j.ydbio.2017.11.007. Epub 2017 Nov 16. PMID: 29155043

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Angiopoietin-like 4 Is a Wnt Signaling Antagonist that Promotes LRP6 Turnover

Kirsch N, Chang LS, Koch S, Glinka A, Dolde C, Colozza G, Benitez MDJ, De Robertis EM, Niehrs C. Dev Cell. 2017 Oct 9;43(1):71-82.e6. doi: 10.1016/j.devcel.2017.09.011. PMID: 29017031

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Parkinson associated receptor GPR37 is an ER chaperone for LRP6

Berger BS, Acebron SP, Herbst J, Koch S, Niehrs C. EMBO Rep. 2017 May;18(5):712-725. doi: 10.15252/embr.201643585. Epub 2017 Mar 24. PMID: 28341812

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Posttranscriptional Wnt signaling governs epididymal sperm maturation

Koch S, Acebron SP, Herbst J, Hatiboglu G, Niehrs C. Cell. 2015 Nov 19;163(5):1225-1236. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2015.10.029. PMID: 26590424

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Maternal Wnt/STOP signaling promotes cell division during early Xenopus embryogenesis

Huang YL, Anvarian Z, Döderlein G, Acebron SP, Niehrs C. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2015 May 5;112(18):5732-7. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1423533112. Epub 2015 Apr 21. PMID: 25901317

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Mitotic wnt signaling promotes protein stabilization and regulates cell size

Acebron SP, Karaulanov E, Berger BS, Huang YL, Niehrs C. Mol Cell. 2014 May 22;54(4):663-74. doi: 10.1016/j.molcel.2014.04.014. Epub 2014 May 15. PMID: 24837680

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RNA helicase DDX3 is a regulatory subunit of casein kinase 1 in Wnt-beta-catenin signaling

Cruciat CM, Dolde C, de Groot RE, Ohkawara B, Reinhard C, Korswagen HC, Niehrs C. Science. 2013 Mar 22;339(6126):1436-41. doi: 10.1126/science.1231499. Epub 2013 Feb 14.
PMID: 23413191

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Loss of Dickkopf-1 Restores Neurogenesis in Old Age and Counteracts Cognitive Decline

Seib DR, Corsini NS, Ellwanger K, Plaas C, Mateos A, Pitzer C, Niehrs C, Celikel T, Martin-Villalba A. Cell Stem Cell. 2013 Feb 7;12(2):204-14. doi: 10.1016/j.stem.2012.11.010. PMID: 23395445

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Cell cycle control of wnt receptor activation

Davidson G, Shen J, Huang YL, Su Y, Karaulanov E, Bartscherer K, Hassler C, Stannek P, Boutros M, Niehrs C. Dev Cell. 2009 Dec;17(6):788-99. doi: 10.1016/j.devcel.2009.11.006. PMID: 20059949

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Wnt induces LRP6 signalosomes and promotes dishevelled-dependent LRP6 phosphorylation

Bilic J, Huang YL, Davidson G, Zimmermann T, Cruciat CM, Bienz M, Niehrs C. Science. 2007 Jun 15;316(5831):1619-22. doi: 10.1126/science.1137065.
PMID: 17569865

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Casein kinase 1 gamma couples Wnt receptor activation to cytoplasmic signal transduction

Davidson G, Wu W, Shen J, Bilic J, Fenger U, Stannek P, Glinka A, Niehrs C. Nature. 2005 Dec 8;438(7069):867-72. doi: 10.1038/nature04170.
PMID: 16341016

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