• sense clinically
  • think mechanistically
  • act interdisciplinarily
  • treat innovatively

Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Reinhold Schäfer

Senior Professor at the Charité Comprehensive Cancer Center (CCCC)

Molecular Tumor Biology

Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin

Email: reinhold.schaefer@ charite.de

Phone: 030 450 564 640

University Education

  • 1976 Ph.D., Universität Bonn

Professional Experience (selection)

  • 1976-1978 Postdoctoral fellow at the Division of Molecular Genetics, Max Planck Institute for Experimental Medicine (MPI), Göttingen
  • 1978-1985 Postdoctoral fellow at the Institute of Cell Biology (Tumor Research), West German Cancer Center, Universität Essen
  • 1985-1988 Principal investigator, Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, Bern, Switzerland
  • 1988-1996 Head, Division of Cancer Research, Department of Pathology, University Hospital Zürich, Switzerland
  • 1996-2008 Professor of Molecular Tumor Pathology, Institute of Pathology, Charité
  • 2009-2018 Deputy director (Translational Research), CCCC
  • 2019- Senior Professor at CCCC

Most important Awards, Grants or Scientific Achievements

  • 1988 Swiss Cancer Award (Robert-Wenner-Preis), Swiss Cancer Society
  • 2001 Award of the Stifterverband für die deutsche Wissenschaft

Scientific Scope

General interest:

Understanding the global genome-wide effects of RAS oncogenes on cellular transformation, tumor formation and therapy resistance.

Specific research themes:

1) Investigation of alterations of the genetic program mediated by mutant RAS genes in generic cell culture models, patient tumor-derived organoid cultures by means of multi-omics approaches.

2) Identification of specific vulnerabilities of cells expressing RAS mutants and exploiting their relevance for targeted therapy.

3) Identification of small molecular weight compounds able to block the activity of RAS pathway-responsive transcription factors in solid tumor models (colorectal cancer, pancreatic cancer, melanoma).

4) Characterization of transcription factor networks that execute transformed properties and phenotypes mediated by chronic activation of the RAS signaling system.

5) Translation of preclinical evidence obtained in model systems into early clinical trials.

Future directions

Validation of drug response predictions obtained in generic models in patient tumor-derived organoid cultures (PDO) and xenotransplants (PDX). Analysis of the downstream effects of targeted intervention at the systems level. Provision of a mechanistic understanding of drug sensitivities and resistance. 

Selected references

  • Schumacher, D., Andrieux, G., Boehnke, K., Keil, M., Silvestri, A., Silvestrov, M., Keilholz, U., Haybaeck, J., Erdmann, G., Sachse, C., Templin, M., Hoffmann, J., Boerries, M., Schäfer, R., & Regenbrecht, C. (2019). Heterogeneous pathway activation and drug response modelled in colorectal-tumor-derived 3D cultures. PLoS genetics, 15(3), e1008076. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pgen.1008076
  • Regan, J. L., Schumacher, D., Staudte, S., Steffen, A., Haybaeck, J., Keilholz, U., Schweiger, C., Golob-Schwarzl, N., Mumberg, D., Henderson, D., Lehrach, H., Regenbrecht, C., Schäfer, R., & Lange, M. (2017). Non-Canonical Hedgehog Signaling Is a Positive Regulator of the WNT Pathway and Is Required for the Survival of Colon Cancer Stem Cells. Cell reports, 21(10), 2813–2828. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.celrep.2017.11.025
  • Stelniec-Klotz, I., Legewie, S., Tchernitsa, O., Witzel, F., Klinger, B., Sers, C., Herzel, H., Blüthgen, N., & Schäfer, R. (2012). Reverse engineering a hierarchical regulatory network downstream of oncogenic KRAS. Molecular systems biology, 8, 601. https://doi.org/10.1038/msb.2012.32