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Chris Thiemermann MD, PhD, FBPharmacolS, FRCP FMedSci
Professor of Pharmacology
Centre for Translational Medicine and Therapeutics

Contact Details:

Chris Thiemermann is Professor of Pharmacology and Centre Lead for Translational Medicine & Therapeutics at the William Harvey Research Institute (WHRI). Chris graduated with honours in Medicine (1986) and obtained his MD in Medicine (1987, summa cum laude) from the University in Cologne in Germany. He was awarded the University Prize in 1987 for the ’Best Doctorate Degree of all Faculties of the University of Cologne’, and received consecutive Fellowships from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) and the Thyssen Foundation (Germany). He joined the WHRI in July 1987, where he obtained a PhD in Pharmacology under the supervision of Sir John Vane in 1991.

During his PhD, Chris discovered (1990) that nitric oxide (NO) accounts for the fall in blood pressure associated with septic shock. This was one of the very first reports indicating that an excessive formation of NO contributes to the pathophysiology of a disease. In the 1990s, his team reported that the enhanced formation of NO by an inducible isoforms of the enzyme NO synthase (iNOS) contributes to circulatory and organ failure in septic shock, haemorrhagic shock and shock caused by Gram-positive bacteria. He then developed selective inhibitors of iNOS activity for the treatment of shock and was awarded the Sandoz Prize of the British Pharmacological Society in 1994. The work relating to the role of NO in Gram-positive shock also resulted in a better insight into the wall-fragments of these bacteria which are ultimately responsible for the initiation of systemic inflammation and shock. He received the Young Investigator Award of the Surgical Infection Society Europe in 1999 for this discovery. During the last decade, his research team have discovered a number of molecules that reduce the tissue injury caused by shock and ischaemia-reperfusion. These molecules include inhibitors of poly-ADP ribose polymerase (PARP), radical scavengers, ligands of peroxisome proliferator activated receptors (PPAR), especially PPAR-y, and erythropoietin. For example, his team reported that erythropoietin reduces the tissue injury caused by ischaemia-reperfusion (heart, kidney, liver), septic shock, arthritis and trauma-haemorrhage. To date, a number of clinical trials are being conducted to test whether erythropoietin, a drug which is currently on the market for the treatment of anaemia, also improves the outcome in adult patients with trauma and myocardial ischaemia as well as in premature babies with brain ischaemia (EPOC-study, Japan).

Over the years, Chris’s research has been generously supported by the British Heart Foundation (of which he was a Senior Fellow from 1996 to 2001), the European Union, the Medical Research Council, Kidney Research UK and William Harvey Research Foundation. Chris has published more than 350 scientific articles in peer-reviewed scientific journals, which have been cited more than 13,000-times (h-index>55) and he is listed by the Institute of Scientific Information (ISI) as a highly cited researcher (www.isihighlycited). He is a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences of the United Kingdom, a Fellow of the British Pharmacological Society, a Foreign Member of the Academy of Sciences of Portugal (Lisboa), Past-President of the European Shock Society (ESS), Member of the Executive Councils of the ESS and of the World Federation of Shock Societies, Senior Associate Editor (Europe) of the Journal Shock and Chief Executive Officer (since 2003) of William Harvey Research Limited


Current research interests


  • Shock & Critical Care Research: Coordinator of a strong research programme (in collaboration with  Charles Hinds, Professor of Critical Care Medicine, Dr Rupert Pearse) aimed at gaining a better understanding of the pathophysiology of the multiple organ injury and dysfunction associated with shock of various aetiologies. Overall Mission: To find novel targets for the therapy of shock and multiple organ failure and to improve outcome in critically ill patients.
  • Ischaemia & Reperfusion and Tissue Injury Research: Coordinator of a strong research programme into the pathophysiology and experimental therapy of ischaemia-reperfusion injury of the heart (stem cell therapy together with Professor Ken Suzuki and Anthony Mathur) and (in collaboration with  Professor Magdi Yaqoob, Professor of Nephrology) the kidney (acute renal failure).


Key publications


  • Collino M, Benetti E, Miglio G, Castiglia S, Rosa AC, Aragno M, Thiemermann C, Fantozzi R.Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor β/δ agonism protects the kidney against ischemia/reperfusion injury in diabetic rats. Free Radic Biol Med. 2010 Oct 31. [Epub ahead of print]PMID: 21047550.

  • Lovell MJ, Yasin M, Lee KL, Cheung KK, Shintani Y, Collino M, Sivarajah A, Leung KY, Takahashi K, Kapoor A, Yaqoob MM, Suzuki K, Lythgoe MF, Martin J, Munroe PB, Thiemermann C, Mathur A. Bone marrow mononuclear cells reduce myocardial reperfusion injury by activating the PI3K/Akt survival pathway. Atherosclerosis. 2010 Nov;213(1):67-76. Epub 2010 Aug 4.PMID: 20810112.

  • Kapoor A, Shintani Y, Collino M, Osuchowski MF, Busch D, Patel NS, Sepodes B, Castiglia S, Fantozzi R, Bishop-Bailey D, Mota-Filipe H, Yaqoob MM, Suzuki K, Bahrami S, Désvergne B, Mitchell JA, Thiemermann C. Protective Role of Peroxisome Proliferator-Activated Receptor-{beta}/{delta} in Septic Shock. Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2010 Aug 6.

  • Kumar S, Allen DA, Kieswich JE, Patel NS, Harwood S, Mazzon E, Cuzzocrea S, Raftery J, Thiemermann C, Yaqoob MM. Dexamethasone ameliorates renal ischemia-reperfusion injury. J Am Soc Nephrol. (2009) 20:2412-25.

  • Collino M, Aragno M, Castiglia S, Tomasinelli C, Thiemermann C, Boccuzzi G, Fantozzi . Insulin reduces cerebral ischemia/reperfusion injury in the hippocampus of diabetic rats: a role for glycogen synthase kinase-3beta. Diabetes (2009) 58:235-42.

  • Murch O, Abdelrahman M, Collino M, Gallicchio M, Benetti E, Mazzon E, Fantozzi R, Cuzzocrea S, Thiemermann C. Sphingosylphosphorylcholine reduces the organ injury/dysfunction and inflammation caused by endotoxemia in the rat. Crit Care Med. (2008) 36:550-9.

  • Brines M, Patel NS, Villa P, Brines C, Mennini T, De Paola M, Erbayraktar Z, Erbayraktar S, Sepodes B, Thiemermann C, Ghezzi P, Yamin M, Hand CC, Xie QW, Coleman T, Cerami A. Nonerythropoietic, tissue-protective peptides derived from the tertiary structure of erythropoietin. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. (2008) 105:10925-30.

  • Tripatara P, Patel NS, Collino M, Gallicchio M, Kieswich J, Castiglia S, Benetti E, Stewart KN, Brown PA, Yaqoob MM, Fantozzi R, Thiemermann C. Generation of endogenous hydrogen sulfide by cystathionine gamma-lyase limits renal ischemia/reperfusion injury and dysfunction. Lab Invest. (2008) 10:1038-48.

  • Cuzzocrea S, Malleo G, Genovese T, Mazzon E, Esposito E, Muià C, Abdelrahman M, Di Paola R, Thiemermann C. Effects of glycogen synthase kinase-3beta inhibition on the development of cerulein-induced acute pancreatitis in mice. Crit Care Med. (2007) 35 2811-21.

  • Cartwright N, Murch O, McMaster SK, Paul-Clark MJ, van Heel DA, Ryffel B, Quesniaux VF, Evans TW, Thiemermann C, Mitchell JA. Selective NOD1 agonists cause shock and organ injury/dysfunction in vivo. Am J Respir Crit Care Med. (2007) 175:595-603.

  • Tripatara P, Patel NS, Webb A, Rathod K, Lecomte FM, Mazzon E, Cuzzocrea S, Yaqoob MM, Ahluwalia A, Thiemermann C. Nitrite-derived nitric oxide protects the rat kidney against ischemia/reperfusion injury in vivo: role for xanthine oxidoreductase. J Am Soc Nephrol. (2007) 18:570-80.

  • Cuzzocrea S, Mazzon E, Esposito E, Muià C, Abdelrahman M, Di Paola R, Crisafulli C, Bramanti P, Thiemermann C. Glycogen synthase kinase-3beta inhibition attenuates the development of ischaemia/reperfusion injury of the gut. Intensive Care Med. 2007 33:880-93.



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Research Staff:

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