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Robert Thimme


Lab: Prof. Dr. Robert Thimme
Department: Department of Medicine
University Medical Center
Phone: 270 32800
E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Lab homepage:
PhD positions available: YES
Research Area: Immunology and Virology
Research Interests: Identification and characterization of virus- and tumor-specific CD4+ and CD8+ T cell responses during HBV and HCV-infection and hepatocellular carcinoma.


Education & Training: 1989-1996: MD, Medicine, Free University of Berlin and Albert-Ludwigs-University Freiburg, Germany
Employment & Experience: 1993-1995: Doctoral thesis in the Department of Virology (Head: Prof. Otto Haller), University of Freiburg, honor: summa cum laude
1995: Clinical Observer at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (Head: Prof. John Mendelsohn), New York (USA)
1996-1998: MD in the Department of Medicine II (Head: Prof. Hubert E. Blum), University of Freiburg
1998-2001: Research Associate at the Scripps Research Institute (Head: Prof. Francis V. Chisari)
2002-present: Junior Group leader in the Emmy Noether Programme of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG), Department of Medicine II (Head: Prof. Hubert E. Blum), University of Freiburg
2004-present: Junior Professor for hepatitisvirusinfections in the Department of Medicine II (Head: Prof. Hubert E. Blum), University of Freiburg
2009-2014: W2/W3 Heisenberg-Professor for Hepatology
10/2013: Director Clinic for Medicine II
Scientific Activities: 2005-present: Editorial Board, Journal of Clinical Investigation, Gastroenterology, Journal of Infectious Diseases, World Journal of Gastroenterology, Journal of Hepatology, Langenbeck´s Archives of Surgery, Frontiers in Virology
1999-present: Member, American Association for the Study of Liver Disease, European Society of Clinical Virology, German Association for Internal Medicine, German Association for the Study of Liver Diseases, The European Association for the Study of the Liver, German Association for Gastroenterology
2000-present: regular reviewer of Nature Medicine, Journal of Clinical Investigation, Journal of Virology, Journal of Immunology, Gastroenterology, Hepatology, European Journal of Immunology, Journal of Infectious Diseases, Journal of Clinical Microbiology, The Lancet, Blood, Liver Transplantation, Journal of General Virology, Journal of Interferon and Cytokine Research, Vaccine, Liver International, International Journal of Virology, Deutsche Medizinische Wochenschrift, Zeitschrift für Gastroenterologie
2000-present: regular reviewer for Grant agencies DFG, Swiss National Science Foundation, Welcome Trust, INSERM, French National Cancer Institute, DAAD, Medical Research Council, Dutch Digestive Foundation
2006-2007: programme committee German Association for the study of liver diseases (GASL)
2009-2012: Scientific Secretary of the German Association for the Study of the Liver (GASL)


Honors and Awards:

1994 Ludwig Heilmeyer Price of the University of Freiburg for best experimental doctoral thesis
1998-2000 DFG Postdoctoral Fellowship
2000 American Association for the Study of Liver Disease (AASLD) Research Award
2000-2003 Postdoctoral Fellowship Award of the Cancer Research Institute, New York, USA
2001-2007 DFG Emmy Noether-Programme
2001 Research Award of the American Liver Foundation, San Diego, USA
2002 Junior Investigator Award International HCV Meeting
2003 Heine Medin Award of the European Society of Clinical Virology
2004/2005 Elected into the International Emerging Leaders Programme of Gastroenterology.
2007 Thieme Award for Medicine from Deutsche Akademie der Naturforscher Leopoldina
2007 Kussmaul-Price of Gastroenterology
2007 Dr. Norbert Henning Award, University Erlangen
2008- DFG Heisenberg Professorship


Selected Publications:

Nitschke K, Flecken T, Schmidt J, Gostick E, Marget M, Neumann-Haefelin C, Blum HE, Price DA, Thimme R. Tetramer enrichment reveals the presence of phenotypically diverse hepatitis C virus-specific CD8+ T cells in chronic infection. J Virol. 2015 Jan;89(1):25-34. doi: 10.1128/JVI.02242-14. Epub 2014 Oct 15. Abstract

Bengsch B, Martin B, Thimme R. Restoration of HBV-specific CD8+ T cell function by PD-1 blockade in inactive carrier patients is linked to T cell differentiation. J Hepatol. 2014 Dec;61(6):1212-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jhep.2014.07.005. Epub 2014 Jul 10. PubMed PMID: 25016223. Abstract

Seigel B, Bengsch B, Lohmann V, Blum HE, Thimme R. (2013) Factors that determine the antiviral efficacy of HCV-specific CD8+ T cells ex vivo. Gastroenterology, 144(2):426-36. Abstract

Schmidt J, Iversen A, Tenzer, Gosticke, Priced, Lohmann V, Distler U, Bowness P, Schild, Blum HE, Klenerman P, Neumann-Haefelin C., Thimme R. (2012) Rapid antigen processing and presentation of a protective and immunodominant HLA-B*27-restricted Hepatitis C virus-specific CD8+ T-cell epitope. PLoS Pathog., 8(11):e1003042. Abstract

Bengsch B, Seigel B, Flecken T, Wolanski J, Blum HE, Thimme R. (2012) Human Th17 cells express high levels of enzymatically active Dipeptidylpeptidase IV (CD26). J Immunol., 188(11):5438-47. Abstract

Neumann-Haefelin C, Timm J, Schmidt J, Kersting N, Fitzmaurice K, Oniangue-Ndza C, Kemper MN, Humphreys I, McKiernan S, Kelleher D, Lohmann V, Bowness P, Huzly D, Rosen HR, Kim AY, Lauer GM, Allen TM, Barnes E, Roggendorf M, Blum HE, Thimme R. (2010) Protective effect of human leukocyte antigen B27 in hepatitis C virus infection requires the presence of a genotype-specific immunodominant CD8+ T-cell epitope. Hepatology, 51(1):54-62. Abstract

Bengsch B, Seigel B, Ruhl M, Timm J, Kuntz M, Blum HE, Pircher H, Thimme R. (2010) Coexpression of PD-1, 2B4, CD160 and KLRG1 on exhausted HCV-specific CD8+ T cells is linked to antigen recognition and T cell differentiation. PLoS Pathog. 10;6(6):e1000947 Abstract

Billerbeck E, Kang YH, Walker L, Lockstone H, Grafmueller S, Fleming V, Flint J, Willberg CB, Bengsch B, Seigel B, Ramamurthy N, Zitzmann N, Barnes EJ, Thevanayagam J, Bhagwanani A, Leslie A, Oo YH, Kollnberger S, Bowness P, Drognitz O, Adams DH, Blum HE, Thimme R, Klenerman P. (2010) Analysis of CD161 expression on human CD8+ T cells defines a distinct functional subset with tissue-homing properties. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A., 107(7):3006-11. Abstract

Jo J, Aichele U, Kersting N, Klein R, Aichele P, Bisse E, Sewell AK, Blum HE, Bartenschlager R, Lohmann V, Thimme R. (2009) Analysis of CD8+ T cell-mediated inhibition of hepatitis C virus replication using a novel immunological model. Gastroenterology,136(4):1391-401. Abstract

Dazert E, Neumann-Haefelin C, Bressanelli S, Fitzmaurice K, Kort J, Timm J, McKiernan S, Kelleher D, Gruener N, Tavis JE, Rosen HR, Shaw J, Bowness P, Blum HE, Klenerman P, Bartenschlager R, Thimme R. (2009) Loss of viral fitness and cross-recognition by CD8+ T cells limit HCV escape from a protective HLA-B27-restricted human immune response. J Clin Invest., 119(2):376-86. Abstract

SGBM PhD students

SGBM PhD students:



Track 1:

Bertram Bengsch (04/2009 - 02/2013)

Juandy Jo (11/2007 - 05/2010)


Track 2:

Tobias Flecken (01/2011 - 07/2015)

Eva Billerbeck (07/2005 - 03/2009)

Bianca Seigel (06/2008 - 05/2012)

Alexander Hoh (04/2012 - 03/2017)

Dominik Wieland (10/2013 - 07/2017)

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