A key research focus at the DZHK partner site Munich is the identification of gene and environmental factors that are associated with cardiovascular disease. Here the aim is to identify molecular markers that predispose for the disease and its associated symptoms and, in conjunction with lifestyle factors, influence the development and course of the disease. More on:

Research Projects:

Early Clinical Trials with Focus Arrhythmia

Duration: 2011 to 2018; Budget: € 638.105,71

PI: Stefan Kääb

Clinical Platelet Therapy Research

Duration: 2013 to 2018; Budget: € 1.567.485,72

PI: Steffen Massberg

Platelets are central mediators of arterial thrombosis and the main target of treatment as well as prophylaxis of coronary heart disease. However, despite improvements in antiplatelet therapy thrombotic disorders a still a leading cause of mortality worldwide. Therefore, the central aim of this project is to pave the way for innovative therapeutic approaches targeting the prothrombotic functions of platelets. This is based on an improved understanding of the interactions of platelets with the coagulation as well as the immune system using state-of-the-art basic science approaches and reaching to clinical evaluation. The results of this project will provide valuable insight into the mechanisms of thrombotic disorders and will break new ground for the treatment of coronary heart disease.

Gender Medicine

Duration: 2012 to 2018; Budget: € 581.646,43

PI: Julinda Mehili

gender-related analyses from different registries and ongoing randomized trials focused on clinical outcomes after trans-catheter aortic valve repair, after heart transplantation as well as after implantation of bioresorbable vascular scaffolds


Preclinical Research:

Generation and functional characterization of macrophage cell lines from yolk sac precursors

Duration: 2017 to 2018; Budget: € 256.655

PI: Christian Schulz

Summary and objectives: The project aims at establishing macrophage cell lines from yolk sac progenitors of mice and humans. Existing macrophage cell lines mostly derive from peripheral blood mononuclear cells or leukemic cells. However, many macrophages in adult organs, including cardiovascular tissues, originate from embryonic precursors located in the yolk sac. Thus, available cell lines do not adequately represent macrophages located in tissues and are insufficient to study tissue macrophage functions under culture conditions. The project therefore aims to generate cell lines of bona fide yolk sac-derived macrophage progenitors, which can be expanded and differentiated into tissue macrophages as needed. This will allow scientists to conduct high throughput screening in disease-relevant cell culture models. Further, using mouse cardiovascular injury models we will characterize and compare the potential of murine macrophages of different developmental origins to contribute to tissue remodelling and healing. These experiments could lay the basis for future regenerative therapies using bona fide macrophages expanded in culture.

PostDoc Start-up Grant: Evaluation of ZFHX3 in the pathogenesis of atrial fibrillation

Duration: 2018; Budget: € 60.000

PI: Sebastian Clauß

Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common arrhythmia in Europe affecting more than 6 million people and is associated with significant mortality and morbidity. The pathophysiology of AF is complex and still not fully understood. Increasing data support a genetic component to AF. Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) identified genetic variants associated with increased susceptibility for AF. However, the mechanism by which genetic variants influence the risk for AF is still unknown. One major AF risk locus is within the gene ZFHX3. Since ZFHX3 is involved in calcium handling, it is a strong candidate gene for AF. To investigate the role of ZFHX3 in AF, the cardiac phenotype of a ZFHX3 knockout (KO) mouse model will be characterized including invasive electrophysiology and telemetry recording.

PostDoc Start-up Grant: Prevention of bioprosthetic heart valve dysfunction - a multimodal approach

Duration: 2018; Budget: € 60.000

PI: David Jochheim

The aim of this project is a multimodal characterization of bioprosthetic heart valve dysfunction (BVD) by 1) preclinical tests (bioreactor) to evaluate bioprotheses biomechanics and hemodynamics within the setting of different simulated complex environments and 2) retrospective clinical assessment of clinical, imaging and procedural factors predisposing to BVD.

Rotation Grant: Mechanisms of early thrombopoiesis and the role of embryonic platelets in vasculogenesis

Duration: 2018 to 2019; Budget: € 69.050

PI: Mathias Orban



Clinical Studies:

APPROACH-ACS-AF-DZHK7: Apixaban versus Phenprocoumon: Orale Antikoagulation plus antithrombozytäre Therapie bei Patienten mit akuten Koronarsyndrom und Vorhofflimmern Identifier: NCT02789917

Duration: 2016 to 2018; Budget: € 530.965,56

PI: Reza Wakili

SMART-MI-DZHK9: Implantierte Monitorinstrumente zur Überwachung von Hochrisikopatienten nach Herzinfarkt und reduzierter linksventrikulärer Auswurffraktion Identifier: NCT02594488

Duration: 2016 to 2018; Budget: € 1.420.958,52

PI: Axel Bauer