RWTH Physician Christoph Kuppe Awarded Prize by the German Society of Internal Medicine


"Map" enables treatments to combat the long-term consequences of heart attacks.

  A man holding up a large pipette in a laboratory Copyright: © Peter Winandy Christoph Kuppe was awarded the Theodor Frerichs Prize by the German Society of Internal Medicine e. V.

Kuppe, a physician based in Aachen, has been awarded the Theodor Frerichs Prize by the German Society of Internal Medicine. This prize recognizes the best clinical-experimental work in the field of internal medicine in the German-speaking world. Kuppe conducts research at the Clinic of Renal and Hypertensive Disorders, Rheumatological and Immunological Diseases headed by Professor Jürgen Floege, and at the Institute of Experimental Internal Medicine and Systems Biology headed by Professor Rafael Kramann.

Kuppe and his team have drawn the molecular remodeling processes after a heart attack in a spatiotemporal "map." In the highest resolution, these maps show the changes an attack triggers in all areas of the heart over different stages and form the basis for research into new treatments to alleviate long-term consequences.

Insights Into the Characteristics and Processes of Individual Cells

To gain a better understanding of what was happening, the team studied 31 tissue samples from 23 different donors taken between day 2 and day 166 after a heart attack. Samples of undamaged hearts were used for comparison. The researchers analyzed the cells using the so-called multi-level single-cell omics method, which simultaneously detects different epigenetic regulatory mechanisms and parameters. The vast amounts of data can eventually be analyzed in combination, and they provide insights into the characteristics and processes of individual cells in healthy and diseased states. This results in a "central area" in which cells die, surrounded by a "peripheral zone" with injuries and inflammatory processes of the cells, and finally an area with almost undamaged heart tissue.

Kuppe studied and earned his doctorate at RWTH. The scientist has already received several awards for his work. Funded by the German Research Foundation, he has been an Emmy Noether junior research group leader since the end of 2021, for example. In early 2022, he received an ERC Starting Grant from the European Research Council and in September, the Life Sciences Bridge Award from the Aventis Foundation. Late last year, he was awarded the Carl Ludwig Prize from the German Society of Nephrology e.V. In addition, Kuppe will also be an Else Kröner Clinician Scientist Professor from July 2023. With this endowed professorship, the Else Kröner-Fresenius-Stiftung will fund Kuppe’s research for up to ten years.