P1: Visualizing and understanding the role of cGMP in cancer


To define the regulatory roles and therapeutic potential of cGMP signaling in cancer, including differential effects of cGMP in tumor and host stromal cells.

Questions and Methods

cGMP and cancer

Boston Internship

Fukumura Lab

In the Fukumura lab in Boston, the doctoral researchers will be trained in cancer biology and multiphoton intravital microscopy of various tumors (including melanomas) in mice via window models. cGMP sensor mice and cGKI mutant mice have already been transferred from Tübingen to Boston.

Boston Co-mentor

Assoc. Prof. Dai Fukumura MD, PhD

link to boston researcher lab

Doctoral Students

Mariagiovanna Barresi

Mariagiovanna obtained her B.Sc. in Biotechnology at the University of Padua, Italy, where she developed a strong interest in cancer research. Her Bachelor’s thesis focused on the validation of a new zebrafish reporter line for STAT3, protein which is involved in uncontrolled tumor proliferation. Then, she continued her studies earned her Master’s degree in Industrial Biotechnology in Padua. She did her Master’s thesis in the Functional Genomics Lab of G. Lanfranchi in the Department of Biology and CRIBI Biotechnology Centre, moving her interest on the study of non-coding RNAs, such as miRNAs, to analyse how their expression, if altered, can determine or influence invasiveness and therefore progression in malignant melanoma. After her M.Sc., Mariagiovanna joined in the laboratory of Robert Feil to do her PhD. Here, her research focusses on the role of cGMP signalling in cancer.

Jennifer Schulz

Jennifer Schulz obtained her B.Sc. in biology at the Justus-Liebig-University of Gießen with an emphasis in immunology, micro- and molecular biology. In her master´s studies at the Justus-Liebig-University in Gießen, she focused on biomedicine. Due to her strong interest in pharmacology and signaling pathways, she completed her master´s thesis at the Rudolf-Buchheim-Institute of pharmacology in Gießen. Her thesis was about the function of the nuclear cap-binding complex in epithelial cells and its association to the IL-1 signaling pathway as well as diseases. An internship at the ICM at the Uppsala University encouraged her to strive towards a scientific career. After completing her M.Sc., Jennifer took the opportunity as a doctoral student of the GRK2381 “cGMP: From Bedside to Bench” in the group of Robert Feil to follow her keen interest in the investigation of molecular mechanisms and their association to diseases. Her project focuses on the visualization and investigation of the role of cGMP in cancer.

Daniel Stehle (associated PhD student)

Daniel studied Biochemistry in Tübingen. His interests guided him towards the fields of oncology and immune response. Consequently, he finished his Bachelor in the department of immunology. In his Master studies, Daniel deepened his experience in cell biology. This is also reflected in the topic of his Master’s thesis, where he analyzed functional aspects of apoptosis induction. After earning his M.Sc., Daniel began his PhD in the laboratory of Prof. Dr. Robert Feil. Here, his research focusses on the role of cGMP signaling during melanoma progression, with a focus on the tumor microenvironment.

Key Publications

Dhayade S, Kaesler S, Sinnberg T, Dobrowinski H, Peters S, Naumann U, Liu H, Hunger RE, Thunemann M, Biedermann T, Schittek B, Simon HU, Feil S, Feil R. Sildenafil potentiates a cGMP-dependent pathway to promote melanoma growth. Cell Rep. 2016;14:2599-610

Thunemann M, Schörg BF, Feil S, Lin Y, Voelkl J, Golla M, Vachaviolos A, Kohlhofer U, Quintanilla-Martinez L, Olbrich M, Ehrlichmann W, Reischl G, Griessinger CM, Langer HF, Gawaz M, Lang F, Schäfers M, Kneilling M, Pichler BJ, Feil R. Cre/lox-assisted noninvasive in vivo tracking and quantification of specific cell populations by positron emission tomography. Nat Commun. 2017;8:444

Feil R, Lehners M, Stehle D, Feil S. Visualising and understanding cGMP signals in the cardiovascular system. Br J Pharmacol. 2021; epub 20 Apr 2021. doi: 10.1111/bph.15500. [pubmed] [Project 1] [Project 4]

Tikoo S, Jain R, Tomasetig F, On K, Martinez B, Heu C, Stehle D, Obeidy P, Guo D, Vincent JN, Cook AJL, Roediger B, Feil R, Whan RM, Weninger W. Amelanotic B16-F10 melanoma compatible with advanced 3-D imaging modalities. J Invest Dermatol. 2021;141:2090-4.e6. doi: 10.1016/j.jid.2021.01.025. Epub 2021 Mar 4 [pubmed] [Project 1]