Johann von Felden, MD

Principal investigator - Group Leader

Dr. Johann von Felden graduated in Medicine and received his MD from the Medical School Hannover, Germany, in 2012 and 2013, respectively. He started his residency training for Gastroenterology and Hepatology at the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, Germany in 2013 where he is a senior physician and part of the Liver Cancer Unit. 

He spent his postdoc fellowship at the lab of Prof. Augusto Villanueva at the Tisch Cancer Institute and Division of Liver Diseases at Mount Sinai in New York City, NY, USA and has developed a very successful career in translational research in the field of liver cancer with an excellent track record including several publications in high-end journals and grant funding (see Publications and Funding)

Dr. von Felden is part of the BMBF-funded advanced clinician scientist program (iSTAR) at the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf and has recently been awarded with the Max Eder Programm by the Deutsche Krebshilfe. He was also selected for the Rising Star Award 2023 by the United European Gastroenterology (UEG) and the Meinhard Classen Prize for Prevention 2023 by the German Society for Gastroenterology (DGVS).

Franziska Giehren, PhD

Post Doc

Dr.  Franziska Giehren graduated in Biology at the Technical University in Braunschweig in 2014. Then she moved to Bielefeld, where she did her master's in Genome Based Systems Biology (2016). She received her PhD at the Technical University of Munich, where she investigated bacteria-bacteria interaction by meta-ribosome profiling of a human intestinal microbiota consortium, and joined the group of Dr. von Felden in 2022. In her current project, she is focusing on cfDNA mutations and gene expression profiling of liquid biopsies from patients with advanced hepatocellular carcinoma receiving systemic therapies to derive predictive biomarkers and to monitor treatment response and tumor evolution. 

Francesca Pagani, PhD

Post Doc

Dr. Francesca Pagani worked for many years in the field of molecular diagnostics and oligonucleotide synthesis and graduated in Medical Biotechnology at University of Brescia in 2017 with a thesis on the role of PANK2 in a model of human angiogenesis. She received her PhD in Biomedical Sciences and Translational Medicine, curriculum Immunology and Oncology, in 2020 at the Molecular and Translational Medicine Department at the University of Brescia with a project on a rare subtype of Glioblastoma, the GBM-PNC. She joined the group of Dr. von Felden in 2023, with the aim of bringing her expertise on primary cell cultures and molecular biology, incl.  in vitro models for the study of the biological functions of newly identified markers using CRISPR-based genome editing by lentiviral transduction to the group.

Since 2023, Dr. Pagani is Member and Ambassador for the European Association for Cancer Research (EACR). 

Ramsha Masood

PhD candidate

Sophie Wulf

PhD candidate

Sophie studied Medical Biotechnology at the University of Rostock and completed her studies in 2022 with a MSc in Molecular Medicine at the Friedrich Schiller University in Jena. She wrote her master's thesis in the nephrology research department at Jena University Hospital and worked on the scaffold protein MORG1 and its role in murine embryonic development. She started her career at the Max Planck Institute for Multidisciplinary Sciences in Göttingen in the Department of Tissue Dynamics and Regeneration. Sophie joined the group of Dr. von Felden in November 2023 and will work together with Francesca Pagani using in vivo and in vitro models to investigate the biological function of newly identified biomarkers for liver cancer. 

Juliane Diederichs

Senior technician

Juliane has finished her education as a state-approved biological-technical assistant (BTA) in 2008. She has previously worked at different university laboratories in Marburg, Berlin and Erlangen, focusing on neurobiology and genetics.

As an experienced technician, she is skilled in molecular biology, histology, in vivo experiments, and protein biochemistry. Juliane joined the group of Dr. von Felden in February 2024. 

Joao Gorgulho, MD

Clinician Scientist 

Dr. Joao Gorgulho moved from Portugal to Germany in 2013 to study Medicine under a DAAD full scholarship. He received his medical degree from Rheinisch-Westfällisch Technische Hochschule Aachen (RWTH Aaachen) in 2020. He did his MD thesis in the lab of Prof. Tom Lüdde in the University Medical Hospital Aachen, Division of Hepatobiliary Oncology. On this project, distinguished with a summa cum laude from which many publications were generated, he exploited the significance of soluble immune checkpoints as biomarkers in the context of immune checkpoint inhibitor therapy in a cohort comprising a broad range of cancer entities. He started his residency training at the Division of Hematology and Oncology at the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf in 2020 and intends to continue pursuing his investigation on (soluble) immune checkpoints. 

Lorenz Kocheise, MD

Clinician Scientist

Dr. Lorenz Kocheise received his medical degree from Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich in 2020. He completed his MD thesis at the Division of Clinical Pharmacology (LMU Munich) in 2022. During his time in the lab, he worked on immunostimulatory RNA as a therapeutic agent for tumor immunotherapy. Nowadays he is interested in the mechanisms that determine the therapeutic success or failure of immunotherapies for individual patients. He started his residency training for Gastroenterology and Hepatology at the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf in 2020 and is a permanent member of the Liver Cancer Unit.

Gustav Buescher, MD

Clinician Scientist - affiliated

Dr. Gustav Buescher graduated in Medicine from the Faculty of Medicine at the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf (UKE) in 2017. His thesis on a model of septic cholestasis at the Department of Anesthesiology and Intensive Care Medicine; Division of Experimental Anesthesia, Jena, Germany was promoted with a fellowship from the Center for Sepsis Control and Care (CSCC). He started his residency training at the I. Medical Department at the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf in 2018. For his work on risk factors for severe SARS-CoV-2 infection in patients with autoimmune liver disease he was awarded with Dr. Martini Prize in 2022. He takes part in the European Reference Network for Rare Liver Diseases (ERN RARE-LIVER) and is especially interested in the research of Extracellular Vesicles.