DNA demethylation, reprogramming and differentiation

Positions held

  • Since 2010: Founding & Scientific Director, Institute of Molecular Biology (IMB), Mainz; Professor at the Faculty of Biology, University of Mainz
  • 2010-2015: Executive Director, IMB, Mainz
  • Since 2000: Professor of Molecular Embryology, DKFZ, Heidelberg
  • Since 1994: Head of Division "Molecular Embryology", German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), Heidelberg
  • 1990-1993: Postdoc, University of California Los Angeles


  • 1997: Habilitation, Faculty of Biology (Zoology), University of Heidelberg
  • 1990: PhD, EMBL, Heidelberg
  • 1985: Diploma in Biochemistry, Free University of Berlin

Selected publications by Christof Niehrs

Arab K, Karaulanov E, Musheev M, Trnka P, Schäfer A, Grummt I and Niehrs C (2019) GADD45A binds R-loops and recruits TET1 to CpG island promoters. Nat Genet, 51:217–223

Han D, Schomacher L, Schüle KM, Mallick M, Musheev MU, Karaulanov E, Krebs L, von Seggern A and Niehrs C (2019) NEIL1 and NEIL2 DNA glycosylases protect neural crest development against mitochondrial oxidative stress. eLife, e49044 

Schüle KM, Leichsenring M, Andreani T, Vastolo V, Mallick M, Musheev MU, Karaulanov E and Niehrs C (2019) GADD45 promotes locus-specific DNA demethylation and 2C cycling in embryonic stem cells. Genes Dev, 33:782–798 

Schäfer A, Mekker B, Mallick M, Vastolo V, Karaulanov E, Sebastian D, von der Lippen C, Epe B, Downes DJ, Scholz C and Niehrs C (2018) Impaired DNA demethylation of C/EBP sites causes premature aging. Genes Dev, 32: 742–762

Schomacher L and Niehrs C (2017)  DNA repair and erasure of 5-methylcytosine in vertebrates. BioEssays, 39: 1600218

Seifermann M, Ulges A, Bopp T, Melcea S, Schäfer A, Oka S, Nakabeppu Y, Klungland A, Niehrs C and Epe B (2017)  Role of the DNA repair glycosylase OGG1 in the activation of murine splenocytes. DNA Repair, 58: 13-20

Schomacher L, Han D, Musheev M, Kienhöfer S, von Seggern A and Niehrs C (2016) NEIL DNA  glycosylases coordinate substrate handover during oxidative DNA demethylation.Nat Struct Mol Biol, 23, 116-124

Schäfer A, Karaulanov E, Stapf U, Döderlein G and Niehrs C (2013) Ing1 functions in DNA demethylation by directing Gadd45a to H3K4me3. Genes Dev, 27, 261-273

Gierl MS, Gruhn WH, von Seggern A, Maltry N and Niehrs C (2012) GADD45G Functions in Male Sex Determination by Promoting p38 Signaling and Sry Expression.Dev Cell, 23, 1032-1042

Niehrs C and Schäfer A (2012) Active DNA demethylation by Gadd45 and DNA repair. Trends Cell Biol, 22, 220-227

Kaufmann LT and Niehrs C (2011) Gadd45a and Gadd45g regulate neural development and exit from pluripotency in Xenopus.Mech Dev, 128, 401-411

Barreto G, Schäfer A, Marhold J, Stach D, Döderlein G, Maltry N, Swaminathan SK, Lyko F and Niehrs C (2007) Gadd45 promotes epigenetic gene activation by repair mediated DNA demethylation.Nature, 445, 671-675

Research website