DNA demethylation, reprogramming and differentiation

Christof Niehrs

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

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