P2: cGMP signaling in cardiac injury and repair


To explore the therapeutic potential of cell-specific NO/cGMP mechanisms in cardiac recovery from myocardial ischemia and sudden cardiac arrest.

Questions and Mehtods

cGMP and Cardiac Injury

Boston Internship

Ichinose Lab

In the Ichinose lab in Boston, the doctoral researchers will be trained in

  1. the cardiac arrest and cardiopulmonary resuscitation model (CA/CPR),
  2. different invasive and non-invasive methods for assessing right (and left) ventricular function, and
  3. the therapeutic application of inhaled nitric oxide.

In a first step, they will also attempt to prove the translational potential of our animal based work by testing promising cGMP-elevating drugs (which will be made available by Bayer and Ironwood) in failing human cardiomyocytes and non-cardiomyocytes, which are available in the Ichinose lab. Following the technical guidance in Boston, CA/CPR experiments will then be performed in cell-type specific mutants.

Boston Co-mentor

Prof. Fumito Ichinose MD, PhD

Link to boston researcher lab

Doctoral Students

Melanie Cruz Santos

Melanie Cruz Santos studied pharmacy at the University of Tübingen and obtained her approbation as a pharmacist in 2017. During her pharmaceutical studies and her practical year, she developed a growing interest in physiological signaling pathways and their significance under pathophysiological conditions, leading her to subsequently complete a Master's degree in Pharmaceutical Sciences and Technologies with a focus on cardiovascular research at the University of Tübingen. A combination of her specific interests encouraged her to start her doctoral studies in Robert Lukowski's laboratory, where she investigates the therapeutic potential of cell-specific NO/cGMP mechanisms in cardiac recovery from myocardial ischemia and sudden cardiac arrest.

Lena Birkenfeld

Lena Birkenfeld studied Biology at the Justus Liebig University of Gießen, Germany. There she focused on cell biology, microbiology and immunology. She earned her bachelor’s degree in the department of zoology for cellular recognition and defense processes. For her master’s degree, she continued her studies at the University in Gießen, where she concentrated on biomedicine and completed a semester abroad at the University College Dublin, Ireland. She did her master’s thesis at the Rudolf Buchheim Institute for Pharmacology in Gießen, where she investigated the protein:protein interactions of the JNK signalling pathway. She went to Tübingen to join Robert Lukowski’s laboratory. There she investigates the role of cGMP mechanisms in cardiac recovery.

Key Publications

Frankenreiter S, Bednarczyk P, Kniess A, Bork N, Straubinger J, Koprowski P, Wrzosek A, Mohr E, Logan A, Murphy MP, Gawaz M, Krieg T, Szewczyk A, Nikolaev VO, Ruth P, Lukowski R. cGMP-elevating compounds and ischemic conditioning provide cardioprotection against ischemia and reperfusion injury via cardiomyocyte-specific BK channels. Circulation. 2017;doi: 10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.117.028723

Straubinger J, Boldt K, Kuret A, Deng L, Krattenmacher D, Bork N, Desch M, Feil R, Feil S, Nemer M, Ueffing M, Ruth P, Just S, Lukowski R. Amplified pathogenic actions of angiotensin II in cysteine-rich LIM-only protein 4 negative mouse hearts. FASEB J. 2017;31:1620-38