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Lothar Hennighausen, Ph.D.

Photo of Lothar Hennighausen.
Scientific Focus Areas: Clinical Research, Computational Biology, Developmental Biology, Genetics and Genomics, Systems Biology

Professional Experience

  • Technical University, Munich, Germany, Hans-Fischer Senior Fellow (2020 – present)
  • FASEB Conference on Prolactin, Keynote Speaker (2019)
  • Sookmyung University, Seoul, South Korea, Brain Korea 21+, Visiting Professor (2018-present)
  • Student invited Seminar Speaker Series, Case Western Reserve University, (2018)
  • Mammary Gland Biology Gordon Conference, Keynote Speaker (2016)
  • Chonnam National University Medical School, Hwasun, South Korea, Visiting Professor (2016-present)
  • Annual Meeting, Cytokine Society, San Francisco, Plenary Speaker (2013)
  • Distinguished Lecture Series, Lady Davis Institute, McGill, Montreal, Speaker (2012)
  • Graduate Research Symposium, Memorial University, St. John’s, Canada, Keynote Speaker (2011)
  • Endocrine Society, Annual meeting, San Diego, Plenary Speaker (2010)
  • Korean Society for Molecular and Cellular Biology, Annual Meeting, Plenary Speaker, Seoul, Republic of Korea (2009)
  • Member and Chair (2009-2014), Scientific Advisory Board, Georg-Speyer Haus, Frankfurt, Germany (2009-present)
  • Chonnam National University, Gwangju, Visiting Professor (2008-2011)
  • Korean Society of Science and Engineering, Distinguished World Class Scholar (2008)
  • Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, Mercator Professorship (2007)
  • Keystone Symposia, Whistler, Canada Plenary Speaker (2004)
  • Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, Humboldt Fellow (1992)
  • Selected, National Press Club, Mammary Gland Bioreactor, Washington D.C. (1987)
  • Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, Post-Doctoral Fellowship (1983)
  • EMBO, Short-term Research Fellowship at Edinburgh University (1980)
  • Studienstiftung des Deutschen Volkes, Graduate Student Fellowship (1978)
  • Ph.D., University of Cologne, 1982
  • M.S., University of Cologne, 1979
  • B.S., Philipp University of Marburg, 1977

Research Goal

Our ultimate goal is to unlock the genetic logic that controls the mammary genome and leads to a functional mammary gland during pregnancy.

Select Publications

mRNA vaccination in octogenarians 15 and 20 months after recovery from COVID-19 elicits robust immune and antibody responses that include Omicron.
Lee HK, Knabl L, Moliva JI, Knabl L Sr, Werner AP, Boyoglu-Barnum S, Kapferer S, Pateter B, Walter M, Sullivan NJ, Furth PA, Hennighausen L.
Cell Rep (2022 Apr 12) 39:110680. Abstract/Full Text
Prior Vaccination Exceeds Prior Infection in Eliciting Innate and Humoral Immune Responses in Omicron Infected Outpatients.
Lee HK, Knabl L, Walter M, Knabl L Sr, Dai Y, Füßl M, Caf Y, Jeller C, Knabl P, Obermoser M, Baurecht C, Kaiser N, Zabernigg A, Wurdinger GM, Furth PA, Hennighausen L.
Front Immunol (2022) 13:916686. Abstract/Full Text
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Research in Plain Language

Cytokines, also called peptide hormones, control many aspects of the mammalian (including us humans) body and physiology. For example, the peptide hormone erythropoietin is responsible for the formation of red blood cells, interleukins control inflammation and our immune system and the hormone prolactin controls development of the mammary gland and milk production during lactation. The Section of Genetics and Physiology (SGP) explores genetic circuitry that allows these hormones to activate the genomes in different organs. Our research focuses on understanding how the hormone prolactin activates the cells in the mammary gland that produce milk during lactation. This research is conducted using tools of biochemistry, genomics, genetics and computational science. 

The advent of the COVID-19 pandemic urgently demanded research in the immune response of patients infected with SARS-CoV-2 and the new variants of concern. Our team has responded to this challenge and conducted clinical research on patient populations within a superspreading event.

Last Reviewed March 2023