Martin J. Lohse

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Martin J. Lohse, M.D. born 26 August 1956, is a German physician and pharmacologist.


Lohse performs ongoing research on G protein-coupled receptors. Since 1993, he is a Professor of Pharmacology at the University of Würzburg, Germany, and he was the Founding Chairman of the Rudolf Virchow Center (2001-2016). In 2016, he became Chairman of the Board and Scientific Director of the Max Delbrück Center in Berlin, a national research center of the Helmholtz Association for molecular medicine. In 2017, he also became Speaker of the Board of the Berlin Institute of Health, a joint research center of the Max Delbrück Center and the Charité.

Lohse received his exam in medicine as well as his M.D. from the University of Göttingen, and did research in pharmacology at the University of Heidelberg, Duke University and the GeneCenter in Munich. His research focusses on the role of receptors in heart failure and on the mechanisms of their activation and inactivation.

While working with Robert Lefkowitz at Duke University he discovered beta-arrestins, proteins that regulate the function of certain cell surface receptors.[1] He discovered that beta-1 adrenergic receptors and their regulatory G protein-coupled receptor kinases are dysregulated in heart failure.[2] The observation that increased β1-adrenergic receptor levels and signaling cause long-term cardiac damage contributed to the use of beta-blockers in heart failure patients.[3] Further studies by his lab showed that heart failure is accompanied by a specific type of activation of so-called ERK protein kinases (Extracellular signal-regulated kinases).[4] Another regulatory protein, Raf kinase inhibitor protein (RKIP), was shown to exert beneficial effects on cardiac structure and function.[5] Lohse pioneered the use of optical techniques to determine, where and how fast receptors become activated by hormones and neurotransmitters.[6][7][8]


He was awarded the Leibniz Award in 1999, the Ernst Jung Award for Medicine in 2000, and the Research Achievement Award of the International Society of Heart Research in 2007. From 2003 until 2008 he was a member of the German National Ethics Council. From 2009 to 2015 he was Vice President for Research of the University of Würzburg. In April 2016 he became chairman of the Max Delbrück Center in Berlin. [9]Since 2009 he is also Vice President of the German Academy of Sciences Leopoldina.


  1. ^ Lohse MJ, Benovic JL, Codina J, Caron MG, Lefkowitz RJ (1990): β-Arrestin: a protein that regulates β-adrenergic receptor function. Science 248, 1547–1550.
  2. ^ Ungerer M, Böhm M, Elce JS, Erdmann E, Lohse MJ (1993): Altered expression of β-adrenergic receptor kinase and β1-adrenergic receptors in the failing human heart. Circulation 87, 454–463.
  3. ^ Engelhardt S, Hein L, Wiesmann F, Lohse MJ (1999): Progressive hypertrophy and heart failure in β1-adrenergic receptor transgenic mice. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 96, 7059–7064.
  4. ^ Lorenz K, Schmitt JP, Schmitteckert EM, Lohse MJ (2009): A new type of ERK1/2-autophosphorylation causes cardiac hypertrophy. Nature Medicine 15, 75–83.
  5. ^ Schmid E, Neef S, Berlin C, Tomasovic A, Kahlert K, Nordbeck P, Deiss K, Denzinger S, Herrmann S, Wettwer E, Weidendorfer M, Becker D, Schäfer F, Wagner N, Ergün S, Schmitt JP, Katus HA, Weidemann F, Ravens U, Maack C, Hein L, Ertl G, Müller OJ, Maier LS, Lohse MJ, Lorenz K (2015): Cardiac RKIP induces a beneficial β-adrenoceptor-dependent positive inotropy. Nature Medicine doi: 10.1038/nm.3972.
  6. ^ Vilardaga JP, Bünemann M, Krasel C, Castro M, Lohse MJ (2003): Measurement of the millisecond activation switch of G-protein-coupled receptors in living cells. Nature Biotechnology 2, 171–176.
  7. ^ Hoffmann C, Gaietta G, Bünemann M, Adams S, Oberdorff-Maass S, Behr B, Vilardaga JP, Tsien RY, Ellisman MH, Lohse MJ (2005): A FlAsH-based FRET approach to determine G-protein coupled receptor activation in living cells. Nature Methods 21, 807–812.
  8. ^ Lohse MJ, Nuber S, Hofmann C (2012): Fluorescence/bioluminescence resonance energy transfer techniques to study G-protein-coupled receptor activation and signaling. Pharm Rev. 64, 299–336.
  9. ^ Martin Lohse wird Chef des Max-Delbrück-Centrums, Gesundheitsstadt Berlin, Stand vom 4. März 2016.

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