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Prof. Dr.

Erich Gulbins

Year of election: 2011
Section: Physiology and Pharmacology/Toxicology
City: Essen
Country: Germany
CV Erich Gulbins - Deutsch (pdf)


Erich Gulbins has made several very important basic science discoveries related to the physiology, biochemistry and pathophysiology of sphingolipids. His findings have broad biomedical implications and have opened the doors to new treatment options for serious human disorders. Specifically, Erich Gulbins demonstrated that ceramide molecules form distinct domains in cellular membranes and that these domains are crucial to the regulation of many signal transduction pathways.

Erich Gulbins applied this novel basic principle of signal transduction to studies on several important biomedical problems. He was first to demonstrate that ceramide plays a crucial role in many bacterial infections and that ceramide regulates basic mechanisms of the host-pathogen interaction. The results of these studies were applied to investigations of the role of ceramide in cystic fibrosis; the findings demonstrated an accumulation of ceramide in cystic fibrosis lungs, which determines important symptoms of the disease. In additional studies he identified the role of ceramide in major depression and the treatment of this disease.


  • seit 2011 Gastprofessor am Dept. of Surgery, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, USA
  • seit 2001 Direktor des Instituts für Molekularbiologie am Universitätsklinikum Essen der Universität Duisburg-Essen
  • 2000 Associate Professor am Department of Immunology des St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Memphis, USA
  • 1999 Lehrbefugnis in Immunologie
  • 1996 Habilitation in Physiologie
  • 1994-2000 Forschungen als Gruppenleiter am Physiologischen Institut der Universität Tübingen
  • 1992-1994 Postdoktorand und Arzt im Praktikum am La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology, La Jolla, USA
  • 1992 Promotion an der Universität Heidelberg
  • Studium der Medizin an der Universität Heidelberg, dem Guy‘s Hospital in London, UK, und der University of Louisville, USA


  • seit 2015 DFG-Projekt „Mechanismen und personalisierte Behandlung des Depressions-induzierten Alkoholismus“, (mit Johannes Kornhuber, Christian P. Müller und in Kooperation mit Malgorzata Filip)
  • seit 2014 DFG-Projekt „Rolle der neutralen Sphingomyelinase 2 (Smpd3) bei mycobakteriellen BCG Infektionen“, Teilprojekt zu FOR 2123 „Sphingolipid-Dynamik in der Infektionskontrolle“
  • seit 2013 DFG-Projekt „Regulation der zellulären Effektoren von Antidepressiva durch das Sphingomyelinase/Ceramid-System
  • 2010-2015 DFG-Projekt “The acid sphingomyelinase/ceramide hypothesis of major depression”, Teilprojekt zu SPP 1267 “Sphingolipids - Signal and Disease”
  • 2010-2015 DFG-Projekt „Regulation hämatogener und lymphatischer Metastasierung von Tumoren durch die saure Sphingomyelinase“
  • 2009-2013 DFG-Projekt „Experimentelle Tumortherapie durch Ceramid-vermittelte Amplifikation von Todesrezeptoren“
  • 2008-2011 DFG-Projekt „Die Sphingomyelinase/Ceramid-Hypothese der Depression
  • seit 2007 DFG-Projekt “Regulation of pulmonary inflammation in cystic fibrosis by ceramide”, Teilprojekt zu SPP 1267 “Sphingolipids - Signal and Disease”
  • seit 2007 Sprecher DFG-Schwerpunktprogramms SPP 1267 "Sphingolipids - Signal and Disease“
  • seit 2007 DFG-Projekt „Konfokales Laserscanning Mikroskop“
  • 2003-2011 DFG-Projekt „Regulation of cell death by interaction of Bax with mitochondrial Kv1.3”
  • 2001-2010 DFG-Projekt „Rolle der sauren Sphingomyelinase in Thrombozyten bei der Tumormetastasierung
  • 1998-2006 DFG-Projekt „Sphingolipide und bakterielle Infektionen
  • 1995-2002 DFG-Projekt „Molekulare Mechanismen der Aktivierung von T-Lymphozyten über den CD40-Liganden“

Auszeichnungen und Mitgliedschaften

  • seit 2011 Mitglied der Nationalen Akademie der Wissenschaften Leopoldina




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