REBIRTH Mitglieder

Hilfiker-Kleiner, Denise, PhD

Hilfiker-Kleiner, Denise, PhD, Prof.


REBIRTH Unit Endogenous Regeneration Mechanisms of the Heart

Hannover Medical School
Carl-Neuberg-Str. 1
30625 Hannover



D. Hilfiker-Kleiner (*1961), PhD, is W3 professor and dean of research of the MHH and leads the Dept. of Molecular Cardiology. She is lead scientist and coordinator of the multicenter clinical trial on the efficacy of Bromocriptin in PPCM (funded by BMBF), member of the German Council of Science and Humanities (Wissenschaftsrat), and a founding member of the study group on PPCM at the Heart Failure Association of the European Society of Cardiology. She has a longstanding experience in analyzing signaling pathways in cardiac cells relevant for physiological and pathophysiological processes as well as for endogenous regeneration abilities of the heart, especially after pregnancy or treatment with cardio toxic agents.

Biography / About

Date of Birth:September, 1961
Function:Full (W3) Professor for Molecular Cardiology and Hannover Medical School (MHH)-Dean of Research


1982 - 1985Student in Biology, University of Zurich, Switzerland
1985 - 1988Diplom in Zoology, University of Zurich
1989 - 1994PhD thesis, University of Zurich, Switzerland, Emory University, USA
1994PhD at the Philosophy Faculty, University of Zurich, Switzerland
2006Post-doctoral lecturing qualification (Habilitation) in Molecular Cardiology, MHH

Academic appointments and Research posts:

1994 - 1996Postdoctoral Research Assistant, Department of Biology, Emory University, GA, USA
1997 - 2001Research assistant, Department of Cardiology and Angiology, MHH
2002 - 2008Assistant Professor in Molecular Cardiology, Department of Cardiology and Angiology, MHH
2008 - 2012Professor (W2) for Molecular Cardiology, Department of Cardiology and Angiology, MHH
Since 2012Professor (W3) for Molecular Cardiology, Dept of Cardiology and Angiology, MHH
Since 2013MHH’s Dean of Research

Other professional activities:

  • Fellow of European Society of Cardiology (ESC), member of the Program Committee
  • Member of the Committee on Translational Research (HFA, ESC), of the Study Group on Peripartum Cardiomyopathy (HFA, ESC), of the Commission on Experimental Research of the German Cardiac Society, of the commission that councels the German Council of Science and Humanities
  • Editorial Board of: Basic Research in Cardiology, Frontiers, JAK-STAT (LandesBioscience), Cardiovascular Research; Special Content Editor of Vascular Pharmacology

Awards and Prizes:

2000Young Investigator Award, Physiologists-Cardiologists-Workshop, Potsdam
2002Rudolf-Thauer-Posterpreis (3.Price) German Cardiac Society, Mannheim
2003Rudolf-Thauer-Posterpreis (1.Price) German Cardiac Society, Mannheim
2003Junior Investigator Award, 3. Price (ESC Vienna, Austria)
2007Outstanding Achievement Award of ESC, Category ‘Cardiac Biology’
2007Sir Hans Krebs Price, Friends of the Hannover Medical School
2009Arthur Weber Price, German Cardiac Society
2010Olson-Gourley Lecture, Cardiomyopathy Association, GB
2016ESC William Harvey Lecture of Basic Science, ESC Rom
2017Research Award of the German Technion Society

Major research interests:

Analysing signalling pathways in cardiac cells relevant for cardiac physiological and pathophysiological processes, as well as for endogenous regeneration abilities of the heart especially after pregnancy or treatment with cardiotoxic agents.

Selected Publications:

  1. Stapel B, Kohlhaas M, Ricke-Hoch M, Haghikia A, Erschow S, Knuuti J, Silvola JM, Roivainen A, Saraste A, Nickel AG, Saar JA, Sieve I, Pietzsch S, Müller M, Bogeski I, Kappl R, Jauhiainen M, Thackeray JT, Scherr M, Bengel FM, Hagl C, Tudorache I, Bauersachs J, Maack C, Hilfiker-Kleiner D. Low STAT3 expression sensitizes to toxic effects of β-adrenergic receptor stimulation in peripartum cardiomyopathy. Eur Heart J. 2017. 1;38(5):349-361. DOI: 10.1093/eurheartj/ehw086.
  2. Ware JS, Li J, Mazaika E, Yasso CM, DeSouza T, Cappola TP, Tsai EJ, Hilfiker-Kleiner D, Kamiya CA, Mazzarotto F, Cook SA, Halder I, Prasad SK, Pisarcik J, Hanley-Yanez K, Alharethi R, Damp J, Hsich E, Elkayam U, Sheppard R, Kealey A, Alexis J, Ramani G, Safirstein J, Boehmer J, Pauly DF, Wittstein IS, Thohan V, Zucker MJ, Liu P, Gorcsan J 3rd, McNamara DM, Seidman CE, Seidman JG, Arany Z. IMAC-2 and IPAC Investigators. Shared Genetic Predisposition in Peripartum and Dilated Cardiomyopathies. N Engl J Med. 2016. 21;374(3):233-41. DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa1505517.
  3. Ricke-Hoch M, Bultmann I, Stapel B, Condorelli G, Rinas U, Sliwa K, Scherr M, Hilfiker-Kleiner D. Opposing roles of Akt and STAT3 in the protection of the maternal heart from peripartum stress. Cardiovasc Res. 2014. 15;101(4):587-96. DOI: 10.1093/cvr/cvu010.
  4. Halkein J, Tabruyn SP, Ricke-Hoch M, Haghikia A, Nguyen NQ, Scherr M, Castermans K, Malvaux L, Lambert V, Thiry M, Sliwa K, Noel A, Martial JA, Hilfiker-Kleiner D, Struman I. MicroRNA-146a is a therapeutic target and biomarker for peripartum cardiomyopathy. J Clin Invest. 2013. 123(5):2143-54. DOI: 10.1172/JCI64365.
  5. Patten IS, Rana S, Shahul S, Rowe GC, Jang C, Liu L, Hacker MR, Rhee JS, Mitchell J, Mahmood F, Hess P, Farrell C, Koulisis N, Khankin EV, Burke SD, Tudorache I, Bauersachs J, del Monte F, Hilfiker-Kleiner D, Karumanchi SA, Arany Z. Cardiac angiogenic imbalance leads to peripartum cardiomyopathy. Nature. 2012 9;485(7398):333-8. DOI: 10.1038/nature11040.
  6. Hoch M, Fischer P, Stapel B, Missol-Kolka E, Sekkali B, Scherr M, Favret F, Braun T, Eder M, Schuster-Gossler K, Gossler A, Hilfiker A, Balligand JL, Drexler H, Hilfiker-Kleiner D. Erythropoietin preserves the endothelial differentiation capacity of cardiac progenitor cells and reduces heart failure during anticancer therapies. Cell Stem Cell. 2011. 5;9(2):131-43. DOI: 10.1016/j.stem.2011.07.001.
  7. Haghikia A, Missol-Kolka E, Tsikas D, Venturini L, Brundiers S, Castoldi M, Muckenthaler MU, Eder M, Stapel B, Thum T, Haghikia A, Petrasch-Parwez E, Drexler H, Hilfiker-Kleiner D, Scherr M. Signal transducer and activator of transcription 3-mediated regulation of miR-199a-5p links cardiomyocyte and endothelial cell function in the heart: a key role for ubiquitin-conjugating enzymes. Eur Heart J. 2011. 32(10):1287-97. DOI: 10.1093/eurheartj/ehq369.
  8. Sliwa K, Blauwet L, Tibazarwa K, Libhaber E, Smedema JP, Becker A, McMurray J, Yamac H, Labidi S, Struman I, Hilfiker-Kleiner D. Evaluation of bromocriptine in the treatment of acute severe peripartum cardiomyopathy: a proof-of-concept pilot study. Circulation. 2010. 6;121(13):1465-73. DOI: 10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.109.901496. Erratum in: Circulation. 2010. 1;121(21):e425. Struhman, Ingrid [corrected to Struman, Ingrid].
  9. Hilfiker-Kleiner D, Kaminski K, Podewski E, Bonda T, Schaefer A, Sliwa K, Forster O, Quint A, Landmesser U, Doerries C, Luchtefeld M, Poli V, Schneider MD, Balligand JL, Desjardins F, Ansari A, Struman I, Nguyen NQ, Zschemisch NH, Klein G, Heusch G, Schulz R, Hilfiker A, Drexler H. A cathepsin D-cleaved 16 kDa form of prolactin mediates postpartum cardiomyopathy. Cell. 2007. 9;128(3):589-600. PMID: 17289576.
  10. Hilfiker-Kleiner D, Hilfiker A, Fuchs M, Kaminski K, Schaefer A, Schieffer B, Hillmer A, Schmiedl A, Ding Z, Podewski E, Podewski E, Poli V, Schneider MD, Schulz R, Park JK, Wollert KC, Drexler H. Signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 is required for myocardial capillary growth, control of interstitial matrix deposition, and heart protection from ischemic injury. Circ Res. 2004. 23;95(2):187-95. PMID: 15192020.

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