Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Nils Blüthgen

Computational Modelling in Medicine
Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin
Institut für Pathologie
Charitplatz 1
10117 Berlin

E-Mail: nils.bluethgen(at)

University Education

  • 1996-2002 Undergraduate studies in Physics, University of Heidelberg and TU Berlin
  • 2002-2005 PhD in Biophysics, Humboldt University Berlin

Professional Experience (selection)

  • 2005-2006 Postdoc in Molecular Neuroscience with Prof. Dietmar Kuhl, FU Berlin
  • 2007-2008 Research Fellow at Manchester Interdisciplinary Biocentre, University of Manchester
  • 2008- Group leader at Institutes of Pathology and Theoretical Biology, Charite

Scientific Scope

Cellular decisions are driven by complex signaling networks. Most tumors arise from perturbations in these signaling networks by mutations or deregulation of signaling protein expression. To analyze these networks we use approaches from systems biology, which is a combination of experimental and computational methods. Our main aim is to get a better understanding how these networks prepare and ultimately execute cellular decisions, and how one can manipulate these with drugs. Most of our research relates to deregulation in EGFR signal transduction, which is one of the major pathways involved in the development of solid tumors. Specifically, we use data derived from cell-cultures and mathematical models to address the following questions: How do oncogenic mutations change the topology and quantitative behavior of the signaling network? Can we device optimal targeted therapies based on our understanding of the network? What is the role of feedbacks for drug resistance? How are the transcription factors that mediate deregulation of the transcriptome due to oncogenic mutations interconnected?

Most important Awards, Grants or Scientific Achievements

  • 2011 EMBO Fellowship
  • 2008 MTZ award for medical systems biology
  • 2007 FEBS Gosau systems biology award

Selected References

  • Stelniec, I, Legewie, S, Tchernitsa, O, Witzel, F, Klinger, B, Sers, C, Herzel, H, Blüthgen, N* and Schäfer, R* (2012).
Reverse-engineering a hierarchical regulatory network downstream of oncogenic KRAS.
Molecular Systems Biology, 8, 601.
  • Nora, EP, Lajoie, BR, Schulz, EG, Giorgetti, L, Okamoto, I, Servant, N, Piolot, T, Berkum, NL v., Meisig, J, Sedat, J, Gribnau, J, Barillot, E, Blüthgen, N, Dekker, J and Heard, E (2012).
Spatial partitioning of the regulatory landscape of the X-inactivation centre.
Nature, 485, 381-385.
  • Fritsche-Guenther, R., Witzel, F., Sieber, A., Herr, R., Schmidt, N., Braun, S., Brummer, T., Sers, C. and Blüthgen, N (2011).
Strong negative feedback from Erk to Raf confers robustness to MAPK signalling.
Molecular Systems Biology, 7, 489.
  • Jürchot, K., Kunban, R., Krecht, T., Blüthgen, N., Stein, U., Walther, W., Friese, C., Kielbasa, S. M, Ungethüm, U., Lund, P., Knösel, T., Kemmner, W., Morkel, M., Fritzmann, J., Schlag, P. M., Birchmeier, W., Krueger, T., Sperling, S., Sers, C., Royer, H., Herzel, H. and Schäfer, R (2010).
Identification of Y-Box Binding Protein 1 As a Core Regulator of MEK/ERK Pathway-Dependent Gene Signatures in Colorectal Cancer Cells.
PLoS Genetics, 6, e1001231.
  • Kielbasa, SM, Klein, H., Roider, H., Vingron, M. and Blüthgen, N (2010).
TransFind - Predicting transcriptional regulators for gene sets.
Nucleic Acids Research, 38, W275-W280.
  • Parikh, J, Klinger, B, Xia, Y, Marto, JA and Blüthgen, N (2010).
Discovering causal signaling pathways through gene expression patterns.
Nucleic Acids Research, 38, W109-W117.
  • Blüthgen, N., Legewie, S., Kielbasa, S. M, Schramme, A., Tchernitsa, O., Keil, J., Solf, A., Vingron, M., Schäfer, R., Herzel, H. and Sers, C (2009).
A systems biological approach suggests that transcriptional feedback regulation by dual-specificity phosphatase 6 shapes extracellular signal-related kinase activity in RAS-transformed fibroblasts.
FEBS Journal, 276, 1024-35.
  • Legewie, S., Herzel, H., Westerhoff, H. V and Blüthgen, N (2008).
Recurrent design patterns in the feedback regulation of the mammalian signalling network.
Molecular Systems Biology, 4, 190.
  • Blüthgen, N. and Legewie, S (2008).
Systems analysis of MAPK signal transduction.
Essays in Biochemistry, 45, 95-107.
  • Blüthgen, N., Menzel, F., Hovestadt, T., Fiala, B. and Blüthgen, N (2007).
Specialization, constraints, and conflicting interests in mutualistic networks.
Current Biology, 17: 341-6, 2007