Translational Immuno-Oncology

Simon Heidegger

Simon Heidegger studied medicine in Munich, Cambridge and New York. He finished his medical thesis and spent two years as PostDoc in the lab of Stefan Endres at Ludwig-Maximilian-University in Munich. During his fellowship in Internal Medicine and Hematology/Oncology under the supervision of Christian Peschel at Technical University Munich, he continued his research in the field of tumor immunology, and in 2018 acquired the venia legendi (habilitation). In 2019, he spent two months as clinical fellow in the center for cellular therapies at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York. In the same year he received the Vincenz-Czerny-Award from the German Society for Hematology and Oncology for his current research work. Simon Heidegger is now an attending physician for hematology and oncology at Klinikum rechts der Isar at Technical University Munich in the department of Florian Bassermann and leads a junior research group in the field of immuno-oncology.


Research Focus

Research in our lab focuses on the interaction between immune cells and cancer cells, with particular interest in innate immune mechanisms. We are interested in the molecular patters in malignant cells that are detected by innate immunity and thus initiate cancer immunosurveillance. We want to understand why these processes seem to fail frequently and how they can be augmented in cancer immunotherapies. Hereby, we want to explore how the innate immune system contributes to clinically established immunotherapy such as checkpoint inhibitors and cellular therapies including allogenic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation and CAR-T cell therapy.

Methodologically, we use somatic mutagenesis in different murine cancer models including solid malignancies, acute myeloid leukemia and lymphoma to genetically delete specific components of innate immune pathways to decipher their roles in cancer immunosurveillance and -therapy. We focus our work on patient-centered clinical problems and aim for validation of preclinical findings in bio samples from defined patient cohorts. Ultimately, we strive for rapid translation of murine data to meaningful benefit for cancer patients.

Key Awards

2019                    Vincenz-Czerny-Award German Society for Hematology/Oncology

                            Scholarship EHA-ASH Translational Research Training in Hematology (TRTH)

                            International Award in AML research - Lady Tata Memorial Trust

                            Young Investigator Award Melanoma Research Alliance (MRA)

2018                    Conquer Cancer Foundation Merit Award

                            American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO)

2017                    ASH Outstanding Abstract Achievement Award

                            DGHO Young Investigator Award (German Society for Hematology/Oncology)

                            Junior Researcher Award, German Consortium for Translational Cancer Research (DKTK)

2016                    Württembergischer Cancer Award (Dres. Carl Maximilian and Carl Manfred Bayer-Foundation)

                            Winner of the 3rd Immunotherapy of Cancer Conference Poster Award

2015                    Scholar Else Kröner-Fresenius foundation Research Council Munich

2013                    Poster-Award World Immune Regulatory Meeting, Davos

2008                    Internship grant, Alliance between Technical University Munich and Weill Cornell Medical College, New York

2007                    Scholarship by the German National Academic Foundation

2006                    Research scholarship of the German Research Foundation (DFG Graduiertenkolleg 1202)

Selected Publication

Heidegger S*, Wintges A*, Stritzke F, Bek S, Steiger K, Koenig PA, Göttert S, Engleitner T, Öllinger R, Nedelko T, Fischer JC, Makarov V, Winter C, Rad R, van den Brink MRM, Ruland J, Bassermann F, Chan TA, Haas T, Poeck H.

RIG-I activation is critical for responsiveness to checkpoint blockade.

Science Immunology, 2019.


Heidegger S*, Kreppel D*, Bscheider M, Stritzke F, Nedelko T, Wintges A, Bek S, Fischer JC, Graalmann T, Kalinke U, Bassermann F, Haas T, Poeck H.

RIG-I agonists synergize with checkpoint blockade to boost the efficacy of anticancer vaccines.

EBioMedicine, 2019.


Bek S, Stritzke F, Wintges A, Nedelko T, Böhmer DFR, Fischer JC, Haas T, Poeck H*, Heidegger S*.

Targeting intrinsic RIG-I signaling turns melanoma cells into type I interferon-releasing cellular antitumor vaccines.

OncoImmunology, 2019.


Duewell P, Heidegger S, Kobold S.

Innate Immune Stimulation in Cancer Therapy.

Hematology/Oncology Clinics, 2019.


Fischer JC, Bscheider M, Eisenkolb G, Lin CC, Wintges A, Otten V, Lindemans CA, Heidegger S, Rudelius M, Monette S, Porosnicu Rodriguez KA, Calafiore M, Liebermann S, Liu C, Lienenklaus S, Weiss S, Kalinke U, Ruland J, Peschel C, Shono Y, Docampo M, Velardi E, Jenq RR, Hanash AM, Dudakov JA, Haas T, van den Brink MRM, Poeck H.

RIG-I/MAVS and STING signaling promote gut integrity during irradiation- and immune-mediated tissue injury.

Science Translational Medicine, 2017.


Heidegger S, Haas T, and Poeck H.

Cutting Edge in IFN Regulation: Inflammatory Caspases Cleave cGAS.

Immunity, 2017.


Haas T*, Heidegger S*, Wintges A, Bscheider M, Bek S, Fischer JC, Eisenkolb G, Schmickl M, Spoerl S, Peschel C, Poeck H,

Card9 controls Dectin-1-induced T-cell cytotoxicity and tumor growth in mice.

European Journal of Immunology, 2017.


Heidegger S, van den Brink MR, Haas T, and Poeck H.

The role of pattern-recognition receptors in graft-versus-host disease and graft-versus-leukemia after allogeneic stem cell transplantation.

Frontiers in immunology, 2014.


Heidegger S*, Anz D*, Stephan N, Bohn B, Herbst T, Fendler WP, Suhartha N, Sandholzer N, Kobold S, Hotz C, Eisenächer K, Radtke-Schuller S, Endres S, Bourquin C.

Virus-associated activation of innate immunity induces rapid disruption of Peyer's patches in mice.

Blood, 2013.


Schuller VJ*, Heidegger S*, Sandholzer N, Nickels PC, Suhartha NA, Endres S, Bourquin C, and Liedl T.

Cellular immunostimulation by CpG-sequence-coated DNA origami structures.

ACS nano, 2011.

* contributed equally


The Team