Contact information

Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Henning Walczak

Institut for Biochemistry

University of Cologne


50923 Cologne


CECAD - Cluster of Excellence at the University of Cologne

Joseph-Stelzmann-Straße 26

50931 Cologne



Academic education

1991 - 1992 Diploma thesis work performed at Tumour Immunology Programme of the Cancer Research Centre (DKFZ), Heidelberg, Germany
1986 - 1991 Studies of Biology at the University of Bielefeld


Scientific degrees

06/1995 Dr. rer. nat. (Ph.D.) degree received from University of Bielefeld, Germany, with “summa cum laude” for thesis work performed at DKFZ
1992 - 1995 Ph.D. thesis in the Department of Immunogenetics (Head: Peter H. Krammer), Tumour Immunology Programme, DKFZ; Title: Molecular and functional characterisation of the APO-1 ligand
06/1992 Diploma in Biology (eq. Master‘s Degree) received from University of Bielefeld with grade: “very good”


Scientific career

2019 - present Professor of Biochemistry and Chair of the Department for Biochemistry I, Medical Faculty, University of Cologne, Germany
2014 - present Group Leader: Cell Death, Cancer and Inflammation Research Group UCL Cancer Institute, University College London, London, UK
2014 - 2019 Head of the Department of Cancer Biology, UCL Cancer Institute, University College London, London, UK
2013 - 2019 Scientific Director, CRUK – UCL Cancer Centre
2013 - present Professor of Cancer Biology and Chair of Centre for Cell Death, Cancer and Inflammation, UCL Cancer Institute
2007 - 2012 Professor of Tumour Immunology, Head of Tumour Immunology Unit, Imperial College London, London, UK
2000 - 2007 Head of the BioFuture Research Group “Apoptosis Regulation” within the Tumour Immunology Programme of the German Cancer Research Centre (DKFZ), Heidelberg, Germany
2002 - 2004 CEO/CSO of Apogenix, a biotech company dedicated to developing targeted pro- and anti-apoptotic therapeutics (during this period the position at DKFZ was part time)
1998 - 2000 Group Leader in the Department of Immunogenetics of the Tumour Immunology Programme of the DKFZ
1996 - 1997 Scientist (PostDoc Level) at Immunex Corp. in Seattle, WA, USA
1995 - 1996 Postdoctoral Fellow in the Tumour Immunology Programme of the DKFZ


Honors/ Awards/ Memberships

2019 Alexander von Humboldt Professorship Prize
2018 Wellcome Trust Investigator Award
2013 - present Member of the ERC Consolidator Grants Life Sciences 4 (ERC CoG LS4) Panel
2011 Wellcome Trust Investigator Award
2011 ERC Advanced Grant
2001 Genius biotech award for the business plan of Apogenix AG (1st Prize)
1999 BioFuture Prize of the German Ministry of Education and Science (BMBF)
1996 5-year Postdoctoral Fellowship for Research on Infectious Diseases (‘Aids Stipend Programme') awarded by the German Ministry for Science and Technology (BMWT)


  • Cleavage of cFLIP restrains cell death during viral infection and tissue injury and favors tissue repair

    Cell death coordinates repair programs following pathogen attack and tissue injury. However, aberrant cell death can interfere with such programs and cause organ failure. Cellular FLICE-like inhibitory protein (cFLIP) is a crucial regulator of cell death and a substrate of Caspase-8. However, the…

  • The importance of murine phospho-MLKL-S345 in situ detection for necroptosis assessment in vivo

    Necroptosis is a caspase-independent modality of cell death implicated in many inflammatory pathologies. The execution of this pathway requires the formation of a cytosolic platform that comprises RIPK1 and RIPK3 which, in turn, mediates the phosphorylation of the pseudokinase MLKL (S345 in mouse).…

  • CDK9 inhibition as an effective therapy for small cell lung cancer

    Treatment-naïve small cell lung cancer (SCLC) is typically susceptible to standard-of-care chemotherapy consisting of cisplatin andetoposide recently combined with PD-L1 inhibitors. Yet, in most cases, SCLC patients develop resistance to first-line therapy andalternative therapies are urgently…

  • Cell Death and Inflammation - A Vital but Dangerous Liaison

    The immune system has developed multiple ways to fight infection. Yet, it is constantly tasked with overcoming newly developing pathogenic mechanisms of resistance to host immunity. In most mammals, the stimulation of both innate and adaptive immune receptors can result in gene activation and cell…

  • Potent pro-apoptotic combination therapy is highly effective in a broad range of cancers

    Primary or acquired therapy resistance is a major obstacle to the effective treatment of cancer. Resistance to apoptosis has long been thought to contribute to therapy resistance. We show here that recombinant TRAIL and CDK9 inhibition cooperate in killing cells derived from a broad range of…

  • Death Receptors and Their Ligands in Inflammatory Disease and Cancer

    On binding to their cognate ligands, death receptors can initiate a cascade of events that can result in two distinct outcomes: gene expression and cell death. The study of three different death receptor-ligand systems, the tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-TNF receptor 1 (TNFR1), the CD95L-CD95, and the…