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Rainer Schulz, M.D. PhD

I had established and led an independent research group within the Department of Pathophysiology, University of Essen, Medical School, and have (since January 2011) been appointed as Chairman of Physiology at the Justus-Liebig University Giessen. I have achieved international recognition for my research on myocardial ischemia/reperfusion injury (IRI) and protection from it. My research group uses a translational approach from subcellular particles towards large animal model to define new targets involved in IRI and investigate novel treatment strategies for protecting the heart.



My research is internationally recognised as evidenced by numerous invitations to speak at international scientific meetings. I received the Young Investigator Award from the European Society of Cardiology (ESC), the Fraenkel and Franz-Groedel Award as well as the Basic Science Lecture Award of the German Cardiac Society. I served as Chairman of the Working Group on Cellular Biology of the Heart of the ESC and I am currently member of the International Council of the Society of Heart Research (ISHR) and the program committee of the German Cardiac Society. I have been appointed as Fellow of the ESC and have been invited to join the AHA as fellow.

My research has advanced the field of IRI and protection from it by being the first to: (1) demonstrate an inotropic reserve in chronically ischemic myocardium, a phenomenon used now routinely in daily clinical practice for identification; (2) highlight the cross talk between protein kinases involved in cardioprotection, and (3) demonstrate the mitochondrial location of a highly expressed cellular protein (named connexin 43) being essential for cardioprotection. The latter is of utmost importance since a number of human diseases (including genetic variations) are associated with reduced connexin 43 expression. 

Publications and Peer-review:

Since 2001 I have published 134 peer-reviewed articles and written 5 book chapters. My H-index is 46 with the total number of citations being close to 6000. I am Associate Editor of Cardiovascular Research (from February 2011) and the British Journal of Pharmacology (since 2008) and I serve on the Editorial Board of several cardiovascular journals. Apart from regularly reviewing articles for them, I review grant proposals for the German Research Foundation, the British Heart Foundation, and other funding organizations.


I have successfully collaborated with other research teams locally, nationally and internationally as indicated by numerous publications. 

Research Group and Funding:

My research group currently comprises 6 postdoc positions and 5 technicians and a number of MD and PhD students. I received continuous grant support from the German Research Foundation as PI and Co-PI and from several pharmaceutical companies to study new compounds targeting IRI. I have been invited to join the faculty and submit grant applications to the ECCPS and PROMISE program (funded by the German Research foundation). 


Apart from the regular teaching to MD students I started the IRI part of the BIOME graduate school at the University of Essen. I have lectured to Danish PhD students and routinely to Cardiology trainees, GP’s and junior doctors (mainly in Germany but also in other European countries).

Knowledge Transfer/Exchange:

Evidence for this includes: several research collaborations with Industry and other Academic Institutions, consultancies with industry, patient and public engagement in my clinical research and participating in International Working Groups for providing issuing Research Recommendations.


Past-Chairman Working Group on Cellular Biology of the Heart of the European Society of Cardiology,
Member of the ISHR International Council, Member of the Program Committee of the German Cardiac Society


University Education

1987/1988 Research fellow in the division of cardiology at the University of California, San Diego
Study of clinical medicine at the University of Essen M.D.


Scientific Career

Assistant professor, Department of Pathophysiology, University of Essen
Tenured professor, Institute of Pathophysiology, University of Essen
Since 2011
Tenured professor, Director of the Institute of Physiology, University of Giessen


Awards & Honours

Young Investigator Award of the European Society of Cardiology
„Fraenkel-Preis“ of the German Cardiac Society
„Franz-Groedel Forschungspreis“ of the German Cardiac Society
Basic Science Lecture of the German Cardiac Society


Current grant support

German Research Foundation (BO 2955/1-1): STAT3 in cardioprotection
German Research Foundation (Schu 843/7-2): Cx43 in cardioprotection