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Molecular Oncology

Max Eder Nachwuchsgruppe

supported by:

Our group’s main focus is on pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC). We try to increase understanding of the molecular underpinnings of this fatal disease, for which patients are in dire need of additional potent therapeutic options. We work on oncogene dependency, metabolic vulnerabilities and tumor-stromal crosstalk at the levels of anti-tumor immune response and tumor cell interaction with cancer associated fibroblasts and the extracellular matrix. Based on gained knowledge we explore new targeted and immuno-therapeutic options in preclinical translational settings and model systems. Currently, we are exploring synergistic implications of indirect interference* with the activity of the virtually omnipresent and central oncogenic driver in PDAC: mutant KRAS.                             
* Ruess DA et al. Nat Med 2018

Model Systems/Samples

  • State of the art genetic endogenous murine models (GEMMs) for PDAC
  • 2D and 3D cell culture systems including patient derived PDAC organoids
  • Patient derived samples


  • In vivo PDAC GEMM therapy trials
  • Small animal magnetic resonance and ultrasound imaging
  • Temporo-spatially controlled in vivo genetic perturbation of specific cell-types of the tumor stroma in PDAC GEMMs
  • In vitro genetic manipulation
  • Multiplex immunohistofluorescence/-chemistry
  • Flow cytometry and (imaging) mass cytometry (collab.)
  • Metabolomics (collab.)
  • Proteomics (collab.)
  • Genomics/Transcriptomics (collab.)
  • Analysis of the impact of targeted therapy approaches on human immune cells


Collaborations with groups from the Medical Faculty and with external experts exist and are continuously being intensified, particularly with a focus on the interconnection between oncogenic signaling dependency and tumor-immune-escape. Based on our collaborations and the locally available core facilities we have access to all -omics approaches, advanced microscopy, high-dimensional flow cytometry and (imaging) mass cytometry.

Lab Members

Dietrich A. Ruess, MD (PI)    dietrich.ruess@uniklinik-freiburg.de
Solène Besson, PhD (PostDoc) solene.besson@uniklinik-freiburg.de
Philipp Hafner, M.Sc. (cand. PhD)    philipp.hafner@uniklinik-freiburg.de
Silke Hempel (chief technical assistant) silke.hempel@uniklinik-freiburg.de
Steffen Keller, M.Sc. (cand. PhD) steffen.keller@uniklinik-freiburg.de
Thomas Yul Avery, MD (surgeon scientist) thomas.yul.avery@uniklinik-freiburg.de
Carola Focke, MD (surgeon scientist) carola.focke@uniklinik-freiburg.de
Xun Chen, MD (cand. Dr. med.) xun.chen@uniklinik-freiburg.de
Johana Norona, PhD (PostDoc) johana.norona@uniklinik-freiburg.de
Asma Alrawashdeh, M.Sc. (cand. PhD) asma.yaseen.abed.alrawashdeh@uniklinik-freiburg.de
Mara Schneider (research assistant / cand. Dr. med.) mara.schneider@uniklinik-freiburg.de
Stephanie Mewes (technical assistant) stephanie.mewes@uniklinik-freiburg.de
Kerstin Meyer (technical assistant) kerstin.reichenstein@uniklinik-freiburg.de
Carolyn Fode, B. Sc., cand. med. (research assistant)  
Huda Jumaa, PhD (PostDoc)  
Judith Kemming, B. Sc. (bachelor thesis / research assistant)  
Friederike I. Nollmann, PhD (PostDoc / guest scientist)  
Tamara Sloboda (undergraduate project)  


5. März 2024

Xun Chen hat eine schöne Übersichtsarbeit zum aktuellen Stand der Forschung bezüglich gezielter SHP2-Inhibition in soliden Tumoren, einschließlich dem Pankreaskarzinom verfasst. Dieser Artikel ist nun veröffentlicht.  https://www.frontiersin.org/journals/immunology/articles/10.3389/fimmu.2024.1340726/full 

Excellent job, Xun Chen! You've come such a long way and we are proud of you.

15.-17. Februar 2024

Steffen Keller hat das kompetitive Werner-Creutzfeldt-Promotionsstipendium 2024 gewonnen und auf der Jahrestagung des Deutschen Pankreasclubs e.V. (DPC) entgegen genommen. 

Das mit 5.000 € dotierte Stipendium wird Steffen ermöglichen, einen Forschungsaufenthalt im Ausland zu absolvieren.

Steffen arbeitet an einem Projekt mit dem Titel: Impact of targeted SHP2-inhibition +/- MEK-Inhibition on cancer associated fibroblasts and matrix composition in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma

Die Firma Nordmark als Sponsor des Stipendiums gratuliert herzlich und freut sich dieses innovative Projekt in der Pankreasforschung zu unterstützen.





If you are interested and considering to join us - for a PhD, Master/Bachelor or MD thesis - please directly contact dietrich.ruess@uniklinik-freiburg.de with a short summary of your research interests and future goals, including your CV.

Group Leader

PD Dr. Dietrich A. Ruess