Heidi Schwarzenbach, PhD

Department of Tumor Biology, University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, Germany

Ass. Prof. Dr. Heidi Schwarzenbach graduated in molecular/cell biology at the University of Basel, Biocenter, Switzerland. Her PhD thesis dealt with the transcriptional regulation of Immunoglobulin promoters. In May 1999, she moved from Switzerland to Hamburg, Germany. Since October 2002, she is a senior researcher and group leader at the Department of Tumor Biology (University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, Germany). In 2009, she composed her habilitation treatise with the subject on genetic and epigenetic alterations during tumor progression. For nearly fifteen years, her research has been dedicated to develop molecular biomarkers in solid tumor-bearing patients. Her specific focus is the characterization and quantification of circulating nucleic acids, such as DNA, nucleosomes and microRNAs, and the detection of genetic alterations of tumor suppressor genes on cell-free plasma/serum DNA in patients with different tumor types. Her group has developed advanced and sensitive methods to specifically assess cancer-derived circulating nucleic acids as well as exosomes in patient´s blood. In Germany, Dr. Schwarzenbach is a leading researcher in the analyses of circulating nucleic acids. In 2015, she was a co-organizer of the congress of CNAPS IX (Circulating nucleic acids in Plasma and Serum) which took place in Berlin, Germany. In addition, a further focus of her investigational studies has been the tumor immunology, in particular, the epigenetic regulation of Cancer/Testis genes. Her expertise in the area of circulating DNA, RNA and microRNAs, as well as in the genetic and epigenetic regulation of promoters is documented in more than eighty publications (mainly as a first and last author) and articles in Nature Review Cancer 2011 and Nature Reviews Clinical Oncology 2015.