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Dr. rer. nat. Christian Hiepen

Chris got trained as a lab technician and worked for Artemis Pharmaceuticals Cologne/ Taconic Biosciences before entering academia. He obtained a BSc and a MSc in Molecular Biology from the University of Applied Science Gelsenkirchen (now Westfälische Hochschule) and performed his Master thesis in the Cell Signalling lab of Prof. Bart Vanhaesebroeck at QMUL London under supervision of Dr. Mariona Graupera, where he became interested in signal transduction and vascular biology. In October 2008 he joined the Lab of Prof. Petra Knaus to work on BMP and TGFβ growth factors, their receptors and context-specific activities, specifically their role in cell migration. Chris completed his PhD end of 2013 honored with “summa cum laude”.

His current aim as senior postdoctoral researcher is to understand the crosstalk of TGFβ/BMPs, the cells extracellular matrix environment and mechanobiology specifically in the endothelium, using advanced light-microscopy and biomaterial interface technologies. He is collaborating with researchers in- and out-side of Germany in the context of the severe lung disease Pulmonary arterial hypertension.

Besides undergraduate teaching at the biochemistry department of FU Berlin, Chris teaches doctoral candidates at (BSRT) Berlin-Brandenburg School for Regenerative Therapies (BSRT, DFG Graduate School 203). He is member of the German Society of Cell Biology (DGZ) and European Vascular Biology Organisation (EVBO) and acts as peer-reviewer and reviewing editor for international scientific journals including Frontiers in Cell and Developmental Biology.

Dr. Christian Hiepen



Signal Transduction

christian.hiepen (at) w-hs.de / hiepenhome (at) gmx.de
  • Hiepen, C.; Mendez, P.-L.; Knaus, P. It Takes Two to Tango: Endothelial TGFβ/BMP Signaling Crosstalk with Mechanobiology. Cells 2020, 9, 1965. doi: 10.3390/cells9091965
  • Christian Hiepen, Jerome Jatzlau and Petra Knaus (2020). Biomechanical stress provides a second hit in the establishment of BMP/TGFβ-related vascular disorders. Cell Stress 2020, Jan 20;4(2):44-47. doi: 10.15698/cst2020.02.213.
  • Hiepen C, Jatzlau J, Hildebrandt S, Kampfrath B, Goktas M, Murgai A, Cuellar Camacho JL, Haag R, Ruppert C, Sengle G, Cavalcanti-Adam EA, Blank KG, Knaus P. BMPR2 acts as a gatekeeper to protect endothelial cells from increased TGFβ responses and altered cell mechanics. PLoS Biol. 2019 Dec 11;17(12):e3000557. doi: 10.1371/journal.pbio.3000557. eCollection 2019 Dec.
  • Benn A, Hiepen C, Osterland M, Schütte C, Zwijsen A, Knaus P. Role of bone morphogenetic proteins in sprouting angiogenesis: differential BMP receptor-dependent signaling pathways balance stalk vs. tip cell competence. FASEB J. 2017 Jul 21. DOI: 10.1096/fj.201700193RR.
  • Migliorini E, Horn P, Haraszti T, Wegner SV, Hiepen C, Knaus P, Richter RP, Cavalcanti-Adam EA. Enhanced Biological Activity of BMP-2 Bound to Surface-Grafted Heparan Sulfate. Adv Biosyst. 2017 Mar, 1600041. DOI: 10.1002/adbi.201600041.
  • Zhukova Y, Hiepen C*, Knaus P, Osterland M, Prohaska S, Dunlop JWC, Fratzl P, Skorb EV. The Role of Titanium Surface Nanostructuring on Preosteoblast Morphology, Adhesion, and Migration. Adv Healthcare Mater. 2017 Mar, 1601244. DOI: 10.1002/adhm.201601244. *equal contribution
  • Sánchez-Duffhues G, Hiepen C, Knaus P, Ten Dijke P. Emerging regulators of BMP bioavailability. Bone. 2016 Dec;93:220-221. doi: 10.1016/j.bone.2016.01.022.
  • Hiepen C, Yadin D, Rikeit P, Dörpholz G, Knaus P. Actions from head to toe: An update on Bone/Body Morphogenetic Proteins in health and disease. Cytokine Growth Factor Rev. 2016 Feb;27:1-11. doi: 10.1016/j.cytogfr.2015.12.006
  • Sánchez-Duffhues G, Hiepen C, Knaus P, Ten Dijke P. (2015) Bone morphogenetic protein signaling in bone homeostasis. Bone. 2015 Jun 4. pii: S8756-3282(15)00206-9
  • Schwab EH, Pohl TL, Haraszti T, Schwaerzer GK, Hiepen C, Spatz JP, Knaus P, Cavalcanti-Adam EA. (2015) Nanoscale Control of Surface Immobilized BMP-2: Toward a Quantitative Assessment of BMP-Mediated Signaling Events. Nano Lett. 2015 Mar 11;15(3):1526-34
  • Hiepen, C., Benn, A., Denkis, A., Lukonin, I., Weise, C., Boergermann, J., Knaus, P. (2014) BMP2-induced chemotaxis requires PI3K p55γ/p110α-dependent phosphatidylinositol (3,4,5)-triphosphate production and LL5β recruitment at the cytocortex. BMC Biol. 30;12:43.
  • Kopf J, Paarmann P, Hiepen C, Horbelt D and Knaus P. BMP growth factor signaling in a biomechanical context, Biofactors 2013.
  • Ruschke K*, Hiepen C*, Becker J, Knaus P. BMPs are mediators in tissue crosstalk of the regenerating musculoskeletal system. Cell Tissue Res. 2012 Mar; 347(3):521-44. doi: 10.1007/s00441-011-1283-6. Epub 2012 Feb 12. * equal contribution
  • Schwaerzer GK, Hiepen C, Schrewe H, Nickel J, Ploeger F, Sebald W, Mueller T, Knaus P. New insights into the molecular mechanism of multiple synostoses syndrome (SYNS): mutation within the GDF5 knuckle epitope causes noggin-resistance. J Bone Miner Res. 2012 Feb; 27(2):429-42. doi: 10.1002/jbmr.532.
  • Sieber C, Kopf J, Hiepen C, Knaus P. Recent advances in BMP receptor signaling. Cytokine Growth Factor Rev. 2009 Oct-Dec; 20(5-6):343-55. doi: 10.1016/j.cytogfr.2009.10.007. Epub 2009 Nov 7.