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International Lecture Series Disease Biology and Molecular Medicine

The International Lecture Series ‘Disease Biology and Molecular Medicine’ brings to Halle’s historic city center renowned researchers from world-leading institutions to share their latest research findings. Set in the grand ballroom of the 19th century-built Stadthaus located at Halle’s main market square, the series is open to the public and aimed at physicians in the region, researchers and students from the medical and natural science faculties of the Martin-Luther-University, as well as experts from local companies and the interested general public. 
The lecture series aims to stimulate scientific discussions and to foster a growing network of collaborations in a wide range of biomedical research areas such as genomics, proteomics, cell signaling, human malignancies and chemical biology.

Historischer Saal im Stadtmuseum Halle
Große Märkerstr. 10
06108 Halle (Saale)

14th Lecture: “Structure, Function and Translation of IGF System in Cancer”

07 May 2018; 7 pm

Prof. Bass Hassan

  • Professor of Medical Oncology, Oxford Institute for Molecular Pathology, Sir William Dunn School of Pathology. Fellow of Lincoln College, University of Oxford.

His research interests address interactions between the growth promoting function of the ligand, insulin-like growth factor 2, and its non-signalling IGF2 receptor. Genetic models of the IGF system have established the key role of this signalling pathway in tumour growth control. This provides an excellent basis to study how tumour progression is orchestrated in vivo, from pre-malignant changes to established tumours, and how this information can be translated to human cancer prevention, diagnosis and treatment. Current projects include: Structure and function of the IGF2 receptor; functional genetics of Igf2 and Igf2r and tumour growth control; development of soluble human IGF2 receptor as an IGF2 ligand trap and structure and function of the RE-1 silencing repressor transcription complex.

13th Lecture: “Accelerating our understanding of human diseases and the discovery of better medicines”

04 December 2017, 7 p.m.

Chas Bountra

Chas Bountra is chief scientist at the Oxford branch of the Structural Genomics Consortium (SGC), Professor of Translational Medicine in the Nuffield Department of Clinical Medicine and Associate Member of the Department of Pharmacology at the University of Oxford. He is also a Visiting Professor in Neuroscience and Mental Health at Imperial College, London. His current interests are i) using X ray structures of novel human proteins to generate small molecule inhibitors, screening in human cells to identify novel targets for drug discovery, and then developing clinical candidates for evaluation in patients ii) focussing on epigenetic and genetically identified proteins, because these are likely to represent better targets for drug discovery, for many cancer, inflammatory, metabolic and neuro-psychiatric diseases iii) working with colleagues in Oxford to build major programmes in rare diseases and in Alzheimers Disease, and creating a “BioEscalator” for the rapid translation of SGC science and iv) building stronger links with local hospitals, patient groups, regulatory agencies, private investors, CROs, biotechs and large pharma companies, to create a new, more efficient ecosystem for pioneer drug discovery.

12th Lecture: “Proteomics of Intestinal Adult Stem Cells and Organoids”

06 November 2017, 7 p.m.

Prof. Shabaz Mohammed

Shabaz Mohammed studied chemistry at UMIST (now University of Manchester) 
and obtained his degree in 1999. For his DPhil, he worked with Simon Gaskell 
(Manchester) on biological mass spectrometry, albeit the more fundamental 
side of the topic and defended in 2003. He then worked in Odense, Denmark, 
with Ole Jensen, on technology development for use in studying post-translation 
modifications. There, he helped to develop a method that allowed quantitative 
analysis of phosphorylation, a widely adopted technique. In 2005, he moved to 
Utrecht University, Netherlands, to continue his research in the field of proteomic 
technologies with Albert Heck. In 2008, he became an Assistant Professor 
and started his own group. In 2013, he once again moved and is now an Associate 
Professor of Proteomics in the Departments of Chemistry and Biochemistry in 
Oxford. He is also the director of the joint Advanced Proteomics Facility of the 
Departments of Chemistry and Biochemistry, and the Dunn School of Pathology 
in Oxford.

11th Lecture: “Novel autophagy signalling pathway important in ageing”

23 October 2017, 7 p.m.

Prof. Katja Simon

  • Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology, Professor of Immunology, 
    Nuffield Department of Orthopaedics, Rheumatology and 
    Musculoskeletal Sciences, University of Oxford
  • katja.simon(at)

Katja Simon is studying autophagy and cell fates in the hematopoietic system. After a childhood spent in Hamburg and Paris, Katja Simon studied Biology in Berlin, followed by a diploma thesis at University College London. She subsequently trained as an immunologist under Avrion Mitchison at the DRFZ (German Rheumatology Research Center) in Berlin, investigating autoimmune diseases with an emphasis on cytokines in rheumatoid arthritis. Katja thus found that TH1 cytokines are present in excess in human autoimmune diseases during her PhD research. As a postdoc at the Centre d‘Immunologie Marseille Luminy, France, she investigated transcription factors regulating thymic cell death. During her second postdoc in Oxford, UK, at the Human Immunology Unit within the Sir David Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine, she pursued her interest in cell fate, studying cell death molecules (Trail and FasL) in thymic selection, inflammation and tumor immunity. As a principal investigator, she set up an independent line of enquiry investigating autophagy, another cellular process determining cell fate, in the haemato-immune system. Her group discovered that autophagy, the main conserved cellular bulk degradation pathway, maintains healthy red blood cells, stem cells and memory T cells and promotes differentiation while preventing ageing of the hematopoietic system.

10th Lecture: "Application of single cell genomics to unravel heterogeneity in normal and malignant haematopoiesis"

12 June 2017, 6 pm (earlier than usual!)

Prof. Adam Mead

  • associate professor in haematology at Oxford University
  • and a consultant physician in the Nuffield Division of Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NDCLS)
  • adam.mead(at)

The major focus of Prof. Mead’s current research programme is on the identification and genetic modelling of leukaemic and pre-leukaemic stem cells in myeloid malignancies. The aim is to identify the cellular and molecular biology of these key populations of cells which are capable of propagating disease relapse in patients and to understand how these cells might be more effectively targeted and eradicated. In order to achieve this, he aims to understand the normal cellular origin of leukaemic stem cells, and to thereby identify the perturbed molecular pathways, which result in the generation of preleukaemic clones, and eventually malignant transformation. There are 3 related approaches in this regard: 1. The development of genetically engineered leukaemia models to study the impact of specific mutation(s) on the establishment, evolution and propagation of leukaemic stem cells. 2. The study of leukaemia stem cells in patients with myeloid malignancies throughout their disease course, in order to understand the impact of novel targeted therapies and also to understand the cellular origins of clonal evolution, resistance to therapy and transformation to more aggressive forms of disease. These studies necessitate state of the art single-cell whole-transcriptome analysis of single blood cancer stem cells, a technique which has been established by his group. 3. To understand the clinical and biological consequences of germline genetic abnormalities in humans, which predispose to the development of myeloid malignancies later in life.

9th Lecture: "Metabolic response to hypoxia - synthetic lethality recruited for therapeutic effect"

24 October 2016, 7 p.m.

Adrian L. Harris

  • CR UK Professor of Medical Oncology, Department of Oncology, Oxford University & Director of the Cancer Research UK Medical Oncology Unit
  • Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine, Oxford
  • adrian.harris(at)

Adrian Harris is a Professorial Fellow of St Hugh‘s College in Oxford and a Consultant Medical Oncologist at the Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust. He was also the Director of Molecular Oncology Laboratory at the University of Oxford, now merged into the Department of Oncology.
Adrian received his bachelor‘s degree in Medicine and Surgery in 1973 at Liverpool University and undertook an intercalated Biochemistry degree there, followed by a DPhil from Oxford University, where he conducted research on mechanisms of resistance to anti-cancer drugs from 1975 to 1978. He then took up a lectureship at the Royal Marsden Hospital in London where he developed an interest in the endocrine therapy of breast cancer with Prof. Ian Smith, and helped to develop early aromatase inhibitors. In 1981 he was appointed Professor of Clinical Oncology at the University of Newcastle Upon Tyne and in 1988 he was invited to Oxford to take up the foundation chair in Medical Oncology and lead the CRUK Molecular Oncology Laboratories at the Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine, one of the leading basic science institutes in the United Kingdom. His long-standing research interests are in cancer biology and therapy, with some focus on breast cancer, angiogenesis and hypoxia and, more recently, cancer metabolism.

8th Lecture: "Overcoming metastasis in ovarian cancer"

19 September 2016, 7 p.m.

Ahmed Ashour Ahmed

  • Consultant Gynaecological Oncology Surgeon & Director of the Ovarian Cancer Cell Laboratory
  • Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine, Oxford
  • ahmed.ahmed(at)

Ahmed A. Ahmed is a Professor of Gynaecological Oncology at the Nuffield Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the University of Oxford and a Fellow of St Hugh’s College. Ahmed leads laboratory-based translational research in Gynaecological Oncology. His main interest is in the surgical, medical and fundamental research into ovarian cancer. Ahmed graduated from Ain Shams University in Cairo, Egypt and completed his PhD and Gynaecological Oncology Surgical training at the University of Cambridge. He gained postdoctoral research experience both at the University of Cambridge and at the University of Texas, M.D. Anderson Cancer Centre in the USA. Prof. Ahmed‘s laboratory research focuses on personalization of therapy to circumvent drug resistance in cancer.

7th Lecture: "Targeting the ubiquitin system in cancer - novel therapeutic windows revealed by chemoproteomics"

30 May 2016, 7 p.m.

Benedikt Kessler

  • Professor & Head of Drug discovery, mass spectrometry and protein interaction group
  • Target Discovery Institute, Nuffield Department of Medicine, Oxford University
  • benedikt.kessler(at)

Regulation of the protein lifespan is key for most biological processes. When proteins reach the end of their lifetime, most of them get modified by the attachment of ubiquitin (Ub). This has been implicated in the elimination of damaged proteins, but also in physiological proteolytic control of processes such as transcription, signal transduction, and cell cycle transitions. So far, the analyses have focused on Ub attachment, with several hundred Ub conjugating enzymes characterized to date. Much less is known about enzymes that remove Ub from substrate proteins, yet around a hundred genes have been identified, sharing consensus motifs for deubiquitylating enzymes (DUBs). Such diversity is inconsistent with a simple recycling function and strongly suggests a range of specific (but currently largely undiscovered) biological functions. Members of the DUB family are already known to contribute to neoplastic transformation and are implicated in neurodegenerative diseases, making them attractive targets for drug design.

6th Lecture: "High resolution (STED) microscopy of living cells"

11 April 2016, 7 p.m.

Christian Eggeling

  • Professor of Molecular Immunology
  • Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine, University of Oxford
  • John Radcliffe Hospital, Headington, Oxford
  • christian.eggeling(at)

Christian Eggeling studied Physics, initially in Hamburg and then in Göttingen, where he also conducted his diploma and PhD research focused on fluorescence microscopy. After an interim period from 2000 to 2003, working for the company Evotec OAI in Hamburg, he joined the group of Stefan Hell at the Max-Planck-Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in Göttingen as a scientist, contributing to their seminal work until 2012, when he became a group leader and head of the Wolfson Imaging Centre at the Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine in Oxford.

5th Lecture: "Role of insulin like growth factor signaling in cancer biology and therapy"

29 February 2016, 7 p.m.

Valentine M. Macaulay

Val Macaulay’s clinical interests are in melanoma, and in exploring the potential of novel signaling inhibitors to enhance sensitivity to conventional anti-cancer treatments. The main aim of her research is to understand the contribution of insulin-like growth factor (IGF) signalling to cancer biology. IGF-1 binds to receptors that are expressed on the surface of cancer cells, activating intracellular signalling pathways that promote cell growth, invasion and resistance to killing by cancer treatments. She has shown that IGF receptors are up-regulated in prostate and renal cancers, and detectable in advanced primary tumours and metastatic disease.

4th Lecture: "Selective targeting of epigenetic reader domains of the bromodomain family"

14 September 2015, 7 p.m.

Stefan Knapp

  • Professor for Structural Biology
  • Target Discovery Institute, University of Oxford
  • NDM Research Building, Old Road Campus, Headington, Oxford
  • Email: stefan.knapp(at)

Stefan Knapp studied Chemistry in Marburg (Germany) and the University of Illinois (USA). He obtained his PhD in protein crystallography at the Karolinska Institute (Sweden) in 1996 and continued as a postdoctoral scientist. In 1999, he joined Pharmacia as principal research scientist in. He left the company in 2004 to set up a research group at the Structural Genomics Consortium in Oxford (SGC). Since 2008 he is a Professor at the Nuffield Department of Clinical Medicine (NDM) at Oxford University and since Mai 2012 Director for Chemical Biology at the Target Discovery Institute (TDI). His research interests are structural mechanisms that regulate signal transduction pathways, in particular protein kinases and the rational design and the development of selective inhibitors. A current focus of his research team is the development of protein interactions inhibitors (PPIs) that target epigenetic reader domains such as bromodomains.

3rd Lecture: "Deciphering microRNA genome regulation using high precision molecular scalpels"

8 June 2015, 7 p.m.

Tudor A. Fulga

  • MRC Senior Research Fellow and Associate Professor
  • Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine, University of Oxford
  • John Radcliffe Hospital, Headington, Oxford
  • Email: tudor.fulga(at)

Tudor A. Fulga obtained his PhD from the EMBL in Heidelberg. He subsequently conducted research at Harvard Medical School as postdoctoral fellow and instructor in Cell Biology. In 2011, he joined the Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine (WIMM) in Oxford as a Group Leader and MRC senior research fellow. In 2014 he was appointed Associate Professor of Genome Biology. During his PhD, he studied the process of protein translocation across the ER and mechanisms guiding invasive cell migration. At Harvard, Tudor investigated the molecular mechanisms underlying Alzheimer’s disease. Amongst several other important scientific contributions, he delineated the actin cytoskeleton as a critical mediator of neurodegeneration. Subsequently, he pioneered transgenic miRNA competitive inhibitors (miR-sponges), a highly versatile in vivo technology for conditional knockdown of miRNA activity with precise spatial-temporal resolution. His research program in Oxford is focused on deciphering the role of non-coding RNAs in development and diseases, and molecular mechanisms of miRNA target recognition and silencing. He also aims to repurpose the functionality contained within RNAs to develop logic-function molecular devices that are capable of rewiring cellular behavior. The resulting synthetic devices have potential for widespread applications, ranging from basic tools for miRNA research to components in targeted diagnostic and therapeutic strategies.

2nd Lecture: "Development, validation and clinical evaluation of next generation sequencing technology for healthcare diagnostics"

13 April 2015, 7 p.m.

Anna Schuh

  • Senior Scientist and Consultant
  • Head of BRC/NHS Translational Molecular Diagnostics Centre
  • Oxford Cancer and Haematology Centre, University of Oxford
  • Churchill Hospital, Headington, Oxford
  • Email: anna.schuh(at)

Anna Schuh is a consultant haematologist at Oxford University Hospitals. Her main research interests are with chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) and molecular diagnostics. She is a principle/chief investigator on a number of early and late phase clinical trials in CLL. As the head of Translational Molecular Diagnostics she leads on a translational research programme for the development, validation, standardisation and evaluation of clinical utility of NGS technologies. Her particular focus is with improving response prediction in CLL and other malignancies using whole genome sequencing.

1st Lecture: "Genome instability of sporadic malignancies - Causes and a therapeutic advantage"

12 January 2015, 7 p.m.

Eric O’Neill

  • Principal Investigator and CRUK Senior Group Leader
  • Oncology Department, University of Oxford
  • Old Road Research Campus, Headington, Oxford
  • Email: eric.oneill(at)

Dr Eric O’Neill is a Cancer Research UK Senior Group Leader at the CRUK/MRC Oxford Institute for Radiation Oncology in Oxford and heads the Signalling Group. The overarching aim of his group’s research is to elucidate key stages and molecular players in tumour cell signalling and to use this understanding to enhance treatment strategies and patient response to treatment. Dr O’Neill obtained his BA in microbiology from Trinity College Dublin, Ireland, his MPhil in molecular biology from the University of Umeå, Sweden and his PhD in Cell and Molecular Biology also from the University of Umeå. After a year in Oxford as a Research Associate within the Department of Pharmacology, he was awarded a Marie Curie individual fellowship and completed a five-year post-doctoral position at the Beatson Institute for Cancer Research in Glasgow, before returning to Oxford in 2007 as a Group Leader.


Stephan M. Feller
Section Tumor Biology
Institute of Molecular Medicine
Charles Tanford Protein Center
Weinberg Campus
Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg
Kurt-Mothes-Str. 3a
06120 Halle (Salle)

T: +49(0)345-552-2915
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