Robert Zeiser

Principal Investigator

Department of Hematology, Oncology and Stem-Cell Transplantation
Medical Center University of Freiburg

Hugstetter Straße 55
79106 Freiburg i. Brsg.

Current position

Director (Abteilungsleiter) W3 Professor, Division of Tumor Immunology within Dpt. of Hematology, Oncology and Stem Cell Transplantation, Medical Center University of Freiburg

Academic training

1995 – 2001Medical School, Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg

Advanced academic qualifications

2010Habilitation for Internal Medicine, subject: Regulation of allogeneic T cell responses, Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg
2001Doctorate, Department of Pathology, Albert-Ludwigs Universität Freiburg

Postgraduate positions

Since 2019Director (Abteilungsleiter) Division of Tumor immunology
Since 2016Section Head of Tumor immunology within Internal Medicine I
Since 2013W3-Professor, Medical Faculty, Albert-Ludwigs Universität Freiburg
Since 2010Attending physician, University Medical Center Freiburg
Since 2007Head of the Laboratory for Tumor immunology and Immune modulation
2005 – 2007Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Department of BMT at Stanford University, Stanford, USA
2001 – 2004Residency and Fellowship in Medicine, Department of Hematology,
Oncology and Stem Cell Transplantation, Medical Center University of Freiburg

Miscellaneous (Honors, Awards)

2021Deutscher Krebspreis (German Cancer Award)
2020Preis der Berlin-Brandenburgischen Akademie der Wissenschaften
2019Paul Martini Award (Paul Martini Foundation)
2017Richtzenhain Cancer Research Award (DKFZ)
2016ERC Consolidator grant (EU)
2015Jon van Rood Award (European Soc. for Blood & Marrow Transplantation)
2014Artur Pappenheim Award (Dt. Gesellschaft für Hämatologie/Onkologie)
2013Heisenberg Professorship (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft)
2011Theodor Frerichs Award (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Innere Medizin)
2007BBMT Editorial award for the best publication in 2007 (ASBMT)
2006Scholar Award (American Society of Hematology)

Publications listed in PubMed®

Publications (based on CRC1479 funding)

Talvard-Balland N, Braun LM, Dixon KO, Zwick M, Engel H, Hartmann A, Duquesne S, Penter L, Andrieux G, Rindlisbacher LS, Acerbis A, Ehmann J, Köllerer C, Ansuinelli M, Rettig A, Moschallski K, Apostolova P, Brummer T, Illert AL, Schramm MA, Cheng Y, Köttgen A, Duyster J, Menssen HD, Ritz J, Blazar BR, Boerries M, Schmitt Graeff A, Sariipek N, van Galen P, Buescher JM, Cabezas-Wallscheid N, Pahl HL, Pearce EL, Soiffer RJ, Wu CJ, Vago L, Becher B, Köhler N, Wertheimer T, Kuchroo VK, Zeiser R. Oncogene induced TIM-3 ligand expression dictates susceptibility to anti-TIM-3 therapy in mice. J Clin Invest. 2024 Jun 25:e177460. doi: 10.1172/JCI177460. Epub ahead of print. Schmidt D, Endres C, Hoefflin R, Andrieux G, Zwick M, Karantzelis N, Staehle HF, Vinnakota JM, Duquesne S, Mozaffari Jovein M, Pfeifer D, Becker H, Blazar BR, Zähringer A, Duyster J, Brummer T, Boerries M, Baumeister J, Shoumariyeh K, Li J, Green AR, Heidel FH, Tirosh I, Pahl HL, Leimkühler N, Köhler N, de Toledo MAS, Koschmieder S, Zeiser R. Oncogenic Calreticulin Induces Immune Escape by Stimulating TGF-β Expression and Regulatory T Cell Expansion in the Bone Marrow Microenvironment. Cancer Res. 2024 Jun 17. doi: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-23-3553. Epub ahead of print. Vinnakota JM, Adams RC, Athanassopoulos D, Schmidt D, Biavasco F, Zähringer A, Erny D, Schwabenland M, Langenbach M, Wenger V, Salié H, Cook J, Mossad O, Andrieux G, Dersch R, Rauer S, Duquesne S, Monaco G, Wolf P, Blank T, Häne P, Greter M, Becher B, Henneke P, Pfeifer D, Blazar BR, Duyster J, Boerries M, Köhler N, Chhatbar CM, Bengsch B, Prinz M, Zeiser R. Anti-PD-1 cancer immunotherapy induces central nervous system immune-related adverse events by microglia activation. Sci Transl Med. 2024 Jun 12;16(751):eadj9672. doi: 10.1126/scitranslmed.adj9672. Epub 2024 Jun 12. PMID: 38865481. Chen YB, Mohty M, Zeiser R, Teshima T, Jamy O, Maertens J, Purtill D, Chen J, Cao H, Rossiter G, Jansson J, Fløisand Y. Vedolizumab for the prevention of intestinal acute GVHD after allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation: a randomized phase 3 trial. Nat Med. 2024 Jun 6. doi: 10.1038/s41591-024-03016-4. Epub ahead of print. Teshima T, Onishi Y, Kato K, Taniguchi S, Miyamura K, Fukushima K, Kato J, Ishikawa T, Doki N, Nakamae H, Maeda Y, Inamoto Y, Okada M, Maki A, Shimada F, Tajima T, Wroclawska M, Zeiser R, Onizuka M. Ruxolitinib in steroid-refractory acute graft-vs-host disease: Japanese subgroup analysis of the randomized REACH2 trial. Int J Hematol. 2024 May 25. doi: 10.1007/s12185-024-03772-6. Epub ahead of print. Vinnakota JM, Biavasco F, Schwabenland M, Chhatbar C, Adams RC, Erny D, Duquesne S, El Khawanky N, Schmidt D, Fetsch V, Zähringer A, Salié H, Athanassopoulos D, Braun LM, Javorniczky NR, Ho JNHG, Kierdorf K, Marks R, Wäsch R, Simonetta F, Andrieux G, Pfeifer D, Monaco G, Capitini C, Fry TJ, Blank T, Blazar BR, Wagner E, Theobald M, Sommer C, Stelljes M, Reicherts C, Jeibmann A, Schittenhelm J, Monoranu CM, Rosenwald A, Kortüm M, Rasche L, Einsele H, Meyer PT, Brumberg J, Völkl S, Mackensen A, Coras R, von Bergwelt-Baildon M, Albert NL, Bartos LM, Brendel M, Holzgreve A, Mack M, Boerries M, Mackall CL, Duyster J, Henneke P, Priller J, Köhler N, Strübing F, Bengsch B, Ruella M, Subklewe M, von Baumgarten L, Gill S, Prinz M, Zeiser R. Targeting TGFβ-activated kinase-1 activation in microglia reduces CAR T immune effector cell-associated neurotoxicity syndrome. Nat Cancer. 2024 May 13. doi: 10.1038/s43018-024-00764-7. Epub ahead of print. Czech M, Schneider S, Peltokangas N, El Khawanky N, Ghimire S, Andrieux G, Hülsdünker J, Krausz M, Proietti M, Braun LM, Rückert T, Langenbach M, Schmidt D, Martin I, Wenger V, de Vega E, Haring E, Pourjam M, Pfeifer D, Schmitt-Graeff A, Grimbacher B, Aumann K, Kircher B, Tilg H, Raffatellu M, Thiele Orberg E, Häcker G, Duyster J, Köhler N, Holler E, Nachbaur D, Boerries M, Gerner RR, Grün D, Zeiser R. Lipocalin-2 expression identifies an intestinal regulatory neutrophil population during acute graft-versus-host disease. Sci Transl Med. 2024 Feb 21;16(735):eadi1501. doi: 10.1126/scitranslmed.adi1501. Epub 2024 Feb 21. Villa M, Sanin DE, Apostolova P, Corrado M, Kabat AM, Cristinzio C, Regina A, Carrizo GE, Rana N, Stanczak MA, Baixauli F, Grzes KM, Cupovic J, Solagna F, Hackl A, Globig AM, Hässler F, Puleston DJ, Kelly B, Cabezas-Wallscheid N, Hasselblatt P, Bengsch B, Zeiser R, Sagar, Buescher JM, Pearce EJ, Pearce EL. Prostaglandin E2 controls the metabolic adaptation of T cells to the intestinal microenvironment. Nat Commun. 2024 Jan 11;15(1):451. doi: 10.1038/s41467-024-44689-2. Maas-Bauer K, Stell AV, Yan KL, de Vega E, Vinnakota JM, Unger S, Núñez N, Norona J, Talvard-Balland N, Koßmann S, Schwan C, Miething C, Martens US, Shoumariyeh K, Nestor RP, Duquesne S, Hanke K, Rackiewicz M, Hu Z, El Khawanky N, Taromi S, Andrlova H, Faraidun H, Walter S, Pfeifer D, Follo M, Waldschmidt J, Melchinger W, Rassner M, Wehr C, Schmitt-Graeff A, Halbach S, Liao J, Häcker G, Brummer T, Dengjel J, Andrieux G, Grosse R, Tugues S, Blazar BR, Becher B, Boerries M, Zeiser R. ROCK1/2 signaling contributes to corticosteroid-refractory acute graft-versus-host disease. Nat Commun. 2024 Jan 10;15(1):446. doi: 10.1038/s41467-024-44703-7. Penack O, Marchetti M, Aljurf M, Arat M, Bonifazi F, Duarte RF, Giebel S, Greinix H, Hazenberg MD, Kröger N, Mielke S, Mohty M, Nagler A, Passweg J, Patriarca F, Ruutu T, Schoemans H, Solano C, Vrhovac R, Wolff D, Zeiser R, Sureda A, Peric Z. Prophylaxis and management of graft-versus-host disease after stem-cell transplantation for haematological malignancies: updated consensus recommendations of the European Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation. Lancet Haematol. 2024 Jan 3:S2352-3026(23)00342-3. doi: 10.1016/S2352-3026(23)00342-3. Epub ahead of print. Frueh JT, Campe J, Sunaga-Franze DY, Verheyden NA, Ghimire S, Meedt E, Haslinger D, Harenkamp S, Staudenraus D, Sauer S, Kreft A, Schubert R, Lohoff M, Krueger A, Bonig H, Chiocchetti AG, Zeiser R, Holler E, Ullrich E. Interferon regulatory factor 4 plays a pivotal role in the development of aGVHD-associated colitis. Oncoimmunology. 2023 Dec 27;13(1):2296712. doi: 10.1080/2162402X.2023.2296712. Sankowski R, Süß P, Benkendorff A, Böttcher C, Fernandez-Zapata C, Chhatbar C, Cahueau J, Monaco G, Gasull AD, Khavaran A, Grauvogel J, Scheiwe C, Shah MJ, Heiland DH, Schnell O, Markfeld-Erol F, Kunze M, Zeiser R, Priller J, Prinz M. Multiomic spatial landscape of innate immune cells at human central nervous system borders. Nat Med. 2023 Dec 20. doi: 10.1038/s41591-023-02673-1. Epub ahead of print. Apostolova P, Kreutmair S, Toffalori C, Punta M, Unger S, Burk AC, Wehr C, Maas-Bauer K, Melchinger W, Haring E, Hoefflin R, Shoumariyeh K, Hupfer V, Lauer EM, Duquesne S, Lowinus T, Gonzalo Núñez N, Alberti C, da Costa Pereira S, Merten CH, Power L, Weiss M, Böke C, Pfeifer D, Marks R, Bertz H, Wäsch R, Ihorst G, Gentner B, Duyster J, Boerries M, Andrieux G, Finke J, Becher B, Vago L, Zeiser R. Phase II trial of hypomethylating agent combined with nivolumab for acute myeloid leukaemia relapse after allogeneic haematopoietic cell transplantation-Immune signature correlates with response. Br J Haematol. 2023 Aug 4. doi: 10.1111/bjh.19007. Epub ahead of print. Jamy O, Zeiser R, Chen YB. Novel developments in the prophylaxis and treatment of acute GVHD. Blood. 2023 Jul 20:blood.2023020073. doi: 10.1182/blood.2023020073. Epub ahead of print.

Brummer T, Zeiser R. The role of the MDM2/p53 axis in anti-tumor immune responses. Blood. 2023 Jul 19:blood.2023020731. doi: 10.1182/blood.2023020731. Epub ahead of print.

Fetsch V, Zeiser R. Chimeric antigen receptor T cells for acute myeloid leukemia. Eur J Haematol. 2023 Jul 16. doi: 10.1111/ejh.14047. Epub ahead of print.

de Maissin H, Groß PR, Mohiuddin O, Weigt M, Nagel L, Herzog M, Wang Z, Willing R, Reichardt W, Pichotka M, Heß L, Reinheckel T, Jessen HJ, Zeiser R, Bock M, von Elverfeldt D, Zaitsev M, Korchak S, Glöggler S, Hövener JB, Chekmenev EY, Schilling F, Knecht S, Schmidt AB. In Vivo Metabolic Imaging of [1-13C]Pyruvate-d3 Hyperpolarized By Reversible Exchange With Parahydrogen. Angew Chem Int Ed Engl. 2023 Jul 13:e202306654. doi: 10.1002/anie.202306654. Epub ahead of print.

Zeiser R, Prinz M. Immune checkpoint inhibitor induced neurocognitive deficits in patients. Brain Commun. 2023 Jun 20;5(3):fcad186. doi: 10.1093/braincomms/fcad186.

Wenger V, Zeiser R. Editorial: Current concepts of cellular and biological drugs to modulate regulatory T cell activity in the clinic, volume II. Front Immunol. 2023 Jun 13;14:1221904. doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2023.1221904.

Langhammer M, Schöpf J, Jaquet T, Horn K, Angel M, Spohr C, Christen D, Uhl FM, Maié T, Jacobi H, Feyerabend TB, Huber J, Panning M, Sitaru C, Costa I, Zeiser R, Aumann K, Becker H, Braunschweig T, Koschmieder S, Shoumariyeh K, Huber M, Schemionek-Reinders M, Brummer T, Halbach S. Mast cell deficiency prevents BCR::ABL1 induced splenomegaly and cytokine elevation in a CML mouse model. Leukemia. 2023 May 9. doi: 10.1038/s41375-023-01916-x. Online ahead of print.

Zeiser R, Chen YB, Youssef NN, Ayuk F. Pathophysiology of gastrointestinal acute graft-versus-host disease and the potential role of glucagon-like peptide 2. Br J Haematol. 2023 May;201(4):620-627. 2023. doi: 10.1111/bjh.18778.

Langenbach M, Giesler S, Richtsfeld S, da Costa-Pereira S, Rindlisbacher L, Wertheimer T, Braun LM, Andrieux G, Duquesne S, Pfeifer D, Woessner NM, Menssen HD, Taromi S, Duyster J, Boerries M, Brummer T, Blazar BR, Minguet S, Turko P, Levesque MP, Becher B, Zeiser R. MDM2 inhibition enhances immune checkpoint inhibitor efficacy by increasing IL-15 and MHC class II production. Mol Cancer Res. 2023 Apr 18:MCR-22-0898. doi: 10.1158/1541-7786.MCR-22-0898. Epub ahead of print.

Edwards-Hicks J, Apostolova P, Buescher JM, Maib H, Stanczak MA, Corrado M, Klein Geltink RI, Maccari ME, Villa M, Carrizo GE, Sanin DE, Baixauli F, Kelly B, Curtis JD, Haessler F, Patterson A, Field CS, Caputa G, Kyle RL, Soballa M, Cha M, Paul H, Martin J, Grzes KM, Flachsmann L, Mitterer M, Zhao L, Winkler F, Rafei-Shamsabadi DA, Meiss F, Bengsch B, Zeiser R, Puleston DJ, O’Sullivan D, Pearce EJ, Pearce EL. Phosphoinositide acyl chain saturation drives CD8+ effector T cell signaling and function. Nat Immunol. 2023 Mar;24(3):516-530. doi: 10.1038/s41590-023-01419-y. Epub 2023 Feb 2.

Socie G, Niederwieser D, von Bubnoff N, Mohty M, Szer J, Or R, Garrett J, Prahallad AC, Wilke C, Zeiser R. Prognostic Value of Blood Biomarkers in Steroid-Refractory/Dependent Acute Graft-vs-Host Disease: A REACH2 Analysis. Blood. 2023 Feb 24:blood.2022018579. doi: 10.1182/blood.2022018579.

Zeiser R. Novel Approaches to the Treatment of Chronic Graft-Versus-Host Disease.  J Clin Oncol. 2023 Feb 17:JCO2202256. doi: 10.1200/JCO.22.02256.

Jaeger A, Gambheer SMM, Sun X, Chernyakov D, Skorobohatko O, Mack TM, Kissel S, Pfeifer D, Zeiser R, Fisch P, Andrieux G, Bräuer-Hartmann D, Bauer M, Schulze S, Follo M, Boerries M, von Bubnoff N, Miething C, Hidalgo JV, Klein C, Weber T, Wickenhauser C, Binder M, Dierks C. Activated granulocytes and inflammatory cytokine signaling drive T-cell lymphoma progression and disease symptoms. Blood. 2023 Jan 25:blood.2022015653. doi: 10.1182/blood.2022015653.

Rückert T, Andrieux G, Boerries M, Hanke-Müller K, Woessner NM, Doetsch S, Schell C, Aumann K, Kolter J, Schmitt-Graeff A, Schiff M, Braun LM, Haring E, Kissel S, Siranosian BA, Bhatt AS, Nordkild P, Wehkamp J, Jensen BAH, Minguet S, Duyster J, Zeiser R, Köhler N. Human β-defensin 2 ameliorates acute GVHD by limiting ileal neutrophil infiltration and restraining T cell receptor signaling. Sci Transl Med. 2022 Dec 21;14(676):eabp9675. doi: 10.1126/scitranslmed.abp9675. Epub 2022 Dec 21. PMID: 36542690.

free full text: https://www.science.org/stoken/author-tokens/ST-951/full

Grüninger PK, Uhl F, Herzog H, Gentile G, Andrade-Martinez M, Schmidt T, Han K, Morgens DW, Bassik MC, Cleary ML, Gorka O, Zeiser R, Groß O, Duque-Afonso J. Functional characterization of the PI3K/AKT/MTOR signaling pathway for targeted therapy in B-precursor acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Cancer Gene Ther. 2022 Nov;29(11):1751-1760. doi: 10.1038/s41417-022-00491-0.

Biavasco F, Ihorst G, Wäsch R, Wehr C, Bertz H, Finke J, Zeiser R. Therapy response of glucocorticoid-refractory acute GVHD of the lower intestinal tract. Bone Marrow Transplant. 2022 Oct;57(10):1500-1506. doi: 10.1038/s41409-022-01741-3.

Ho JNHG, Schmidt D, Lowinus T, Ryoo J, Dopfer EP, Gonzalo Núñez N, Costa-Pereira S, Toffalori C, Punta M, Fetsch V, Wertheimer T, Rittmann MC, Braun LM, Follo M, Briere C, Vinnakota JM, Langenbach M, Koppers F, Shoumariyeh K, Engel H, Rückert T, Märklin M, Holzmayer S, Illert AL, Magon F, Andrieux G, Duquesne S, Pfeifer D, Staniek J, Rizzi M, Miething C, Köhler N, Duyster J, Menssen HD, Boerries M, Buescher JM, Cabezas-Wallscheid N, Blazar BR, Apostolova P, Vago L, Pearce EL, Becher B, Zeiser R. Targeting MDM2 enhances antileukemia immunity after allogeneic transplantation via MHC-II and TRAIL-R1/2 upregulation. Blood. 2022 Sep 8;140(10):1167-1181. doi: 10.1182/blood.2022016082.

Highlighted by this Editorial: Bleakley M, Biernacki M. MDM2 inhibition augments GVL effect. Blood. 2022 Sep 8;140(10):1064-1065. doi: 10.1182/blood.2022017724. PMID: 36074535.

Zeiser R, Warnatz K, Rosshart S, Sagar, Tanriver Y. GVHD, IBD and primary immunodeficiencies: The gut as a target of immunopathology resulting from impaired immunity. Eur J Immunol. 2022 Sep;52(9):1406-1418. doi: 10.1002/eji.202149530.

Biavasco F, Zeiser R. FLT3-inhibitor therapy for prevention and treatment of relapse after allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation. Int J Hematol. 2022 Sep;116(3):341-350. doi: 10.1007/s12185-022-03352-6.

Avery TY, Köhler N, Zeiser R, Brummer T, Ruess DA. Onco-immunomodulatory properties of pharmacological interference with RAS-RAF-MEK-ERK pathway hyperactivation. Front Oncol. 2022 Jul 27;12:931774. doi: 10.3389/fonc.2022.931774.

Haring E, Andrieux G, Uhl FM, Krausz M, Proietti M, Sauer B, Esser PR, Martin SF, Pfeifer D, Schmitt-Graeff A, Duyster J, Köhler N, Grimbacher B, Boerries M, Aumann K, Zeiser R, Apostolova P. Therapeutic targeting of endoplasmic reticulum stress in acute graft-versus-host disease. Haematologica. 2022 Jul 1;107(7):1538-1554. doi: 10.3324/haematol.2021.278387.

Köhler N, Zeiser R. Epigenetic Regulation to Enhance Graft-versus-Leukemia Activity. Cancer Discov. 2022 Jun 2;12(6):1410-1412.

Zeiser R, Lee SJ. Three FDA-approved therapies for chronic GVHD. Blood. 2022 Mar 17;139(11):1642-1645. doi: 10.1182/blood.2021014448. 

Zeiser R, Socié G, Schroeder MA, Abhyankar S, Vaz CP, Kwon M, Clausen J, Volodin L, Giebel S, Chacon MJ, Meyers G, Ghosh M, Deeren D, Sanz J, Morariu-Zamfir R, Arbushites M, Lakshminarayanan M, Barbour AM, Chen YB. Efficacy and safety of itacitinib versus placebo in combination with corticosteroids for initial treatment of acute graft-versus-host disease (GRAVITAS-301): a randomised, multicentre, double-blind, phase 3 trial. Lancet Haematol. 2022 Jan;9(1):e14-e25.doi: 10.1016/S2352-3026(21)00367-7.

highlighted by this Editorial: Paczesny S. Graft-versus-host disease treatment beyond corticosteroids in newly diagnosed patients? Lancet Haematol. 2022 Jan;9(1):e2-e3. doi: 10.1016/S2352-3026(21)00376-8. PMID: 34971578.

Zeiser R, Teshima T. Non-classical manifestations of acute GVHD. Blood. 2021 Dec 2;138(22):2165-2172. doi: 10.1182/blood.2021012431. 

Braun LM, Zeiser R. Kinase Inhibition as Treatment for Acute and Chronic Graft- Versus-Host Disease. Front Immunol. 2021 Nov 17;12:760199. doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2021.760199.

El Khawanky N, Hughes A, Yu W, Myburgh R, Matschulla T, Taromi S, Aumann K, Clarson J, Vinnakota JM, Shoumariyeh K, Miething C, Lopez AF, Brown MP, Duyster J, Hein L, Manz MG, Hughes TP, White DL, Yong ASM, Zeiser R. Demethylating therapy increases anti-CD123 CAR T cell cytotoxicity against acute myeloid leukemia. Nat Commun. 2021 Nov 8;12(1):6436. doi: 10.1038/s41467-021-26683-0.

Vinnakota JM, Zeiser R. Acute Graft- Versus-Host Disease, Infections, Vascular Events and Drug Toxicities Affecting the Central Nervous System. Front Immunol. 2021 Oct 6;12:748019. doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2021.748019.