Ralf Weiskirchen, PhD

Institute of Molecular Pathobiochemistry, Experimental Gene Therapy and Clinical Chemistry at the RWTH University Hospital Aachen, Aachen, Germany

Ralf Weiskirchen, Professor, PhD was born in 1964 Bergisch Gladbach, North Rhine Westphalia (Germany). After his school education, he studied Biology and made his PhD at the University of Cologne (Germany). Thereafter, he worked as a Research Associate in the Institute of Biochemistry at the University of Innsbruck (Austria). Back in Germany he habilitated at the RWTH University Hospital Aachen and became a Professor assignment in 2007. Now he is the head of the Institute of Molecular Pathobiochemistry, Experimental Gene Therapy and Clinical Chemistry (IFMPEGKC) in Aachen.

His major research focus is the analysis of the molecular mechanisms underlying the pathogenesis of hepatic fibrosis. In the past, he has intensively studied general aspects of cytokine and chemokine activities and their signalling pathways. Therefore, he studied animal models of hepatic inflammation, fibrosis/cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma. In addition, he isolated and established novel biomarkers or predisposition traits (SNPs, haplotypes) that allow determining the outcome of liver disease. The long-term objective of Professor Weiskirchen’s studies is to translate experimental findings into novel diagnostic or therapeutic strategies. During the last years he has also developed novel protocols for measuring and profiling metal concentration in experimental and clinical samples. The analytical protocols are based on laser ablation-inductively coupled mass spectrometry imaging, which allow visualizing relative and absolute element concentrations. Since hepatic metal overload (e. g. iron, hemochromatosis; copper, Wilson's disease) is relevant in the pathogenesis of hepatic inflammation, fibrosis and cirrhosis, the established protocols are diagnostically helpful for early detection of metal deposits.

Ralf Weiskirchen has authored over 300 articles in peer-reviewed journals that are cited very often resulting in a current h-index of 50. He has given a large number of presentations and lectures at medical and scientific conferences. He is editorial board member of a wealth of journals, and active member of the German Association of the Study of the Liver (GASL) and the European Association for the Study of the Liver (EASL). His scientific studies are integrated in a close network of national and international cooperations with many other laboratories and industrial partners and supported by the German Research Foundation (DFG) and the Interdisciplinary Center for Clinical Research (IZKF).

As a scientists interested in the pathogenesis and therapy of liver disease, he is honored to be part of the editorial board of Annals of Translational Medicine which aims to expedite the translation of scientific discovery into new or improved diagnostics and therapies.