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Prof. Dr.

Heiner Niemann

Year of election: 2008
Section: Veterinary Medicine
City: Neustadt
Country: Germany
CV Heiner Niemann - Deutsch (pdf)
CV Heiner Niemann - English (pdf)


Main research interests: Molecular regulation of mammalian preimplantation embryo development, transgenic large animal models, pluripotent stem cells, epigenetic reprogramming, genetic diversity

Heiner Niemann has made important contributions to the development of farm animal biotechnology. Most of his work was done at the Institute of Farm Animal Genetics of the Friedrich-Loeffler-Institute (previously Institute of Animal Science of the Federal Agricultural Research Centre) located in Mariensee near Hannover. His research is characterized by close collaboration with various partners within Germany and abroad.

Initially he worked on the establishment of embryo transfer technologies, predominantly in swine and developed practical technology to freeze bovine embryos. For a number of years, modern biotechnologies have been the major focus of his research. This particularly relates to in vitro production of embryos, analysis of gene expression patterns in embryos, transgenesis in farm animals, development and validation of somatic cell nuclear transfer in farm animals, derivation and characterization of somatic and embryonic stem cells, as well as epigenetic aspects.

Heiner Niemann's laboratory has pioneered several aspects of farm animal biotechnology, specifically the analysis of gene expression patterns in bovine embryos, establishment of transgenic pigs for xenotransplantation research, development and validation of somatic cell nuclear transfer in swine and the discovery of culture conditions with dedifferentiating properties allowing pluripotent cells to be derived from primary somatic cell cultures. His laboratory is one of the leading groups in farm animal biotechnology.


  • since 2016 Honorary Professor at the Medizinische Hochschule Hannover (MHH), Germany
  • since 2009 Member of Faculty of the Medizinische Hochschule Hannover (MHH), Germany
  • since 2008 Head of the Institute of Farm Animal Genetics, FLI, Germany
  • 2007 Visiting Professor, Kinki University, Institute for Advanced Technologies, Wakayama, Japan
  • 2007 Offer from University of Adelaide, South Australia, Australia; Chair Animal Biotechnology; Offer from Utrecht University, NL, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Chair for Reproductive Biology
  • 2004 - 2007 Adjunct Professor Monash University Melbourne, Australia
  • 2001 Offer from Monash University Melbourne, Australia; Chair for Animal Biotechnology
  • 2001 Special Continuing Degree in Molecular Genetics (Fachtierarzt für Molekulargenetik und Gentechnologie)
  • 1996 Offer from Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University Copenhagen, Denmark; Chair for Embryotechnologies
  • since 1994 APL.-Professor for Reproductive Biology, Tierärztliche Hochschule Hannover, Germany
  • 1989 Habilitation at the Veterinary University Hannover and Venia legendi in Reproductive, Germany; Biology and member of Faculty at Veterinary University Hannover, Germany
  • since 1987 Head of Department Biotechnology at the Institut für Tierzucht (FAL), Germany
  • 1987 Consultant for Arpac International, Angora Goat embryos, Masterton, New Zealand
  • 1985-1986 Visiting Professor at the Veterinary College Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas, USA
  • 1984 Special Continuing Veterinary Degree on Reproductive Medicine (Fachtierarzt für Reproduktionsmedizin)
  • since 1980 Scientist at the Institute for Animal Science and Behaviour (FAL) in Mariensee now Institute of Farm Animal Genetics, Friedrich-Loeffler-Institut (FLI), Federal Research Institute for Animal Health
  • 1980 Ph.D., Veterinary University, Hannover, Germany
  • 1973-1978 Study of Veterinary Sciences, Tierärztliche Hochschule Hannover, including one semester at the Ecole National Veterinaire at Toulouse, France


  • 2016-2021 DFG-Reinhart Koselleck-Projekt “In vivo tissue engineering of patient specific chimeric liver tissue for whole organ liver transplantation”
  • 2012-2016, 2016-2020 DFG-Projekt „„Verbesserte transgene Schweine für Xenotransplantationen in Primaten“, Teilprojekt zum SFB/Transregio 127 „Biologie der xenogenen Zell- und Organtransplantation – vom Labor in die Klinik“
  • 2012-2016, 2016-2020 DFG-Projekt „Zentraleinrichtung für Großtiere“, Teilprojekt zu SFB/Transregio 127
  • 2012 DFG Transregio Research Unit 535 “Xenotransplantation”, “Generation of multitransgenic pigs for xenotransplantation”
  • 2009-2012 BMBF Joint project “Pluripotent Cells for Heart Therapies”, Subproject “Evaluation of porcine pGSCs”
  • 2009-2011 BMBF Joint project “Induced pluripotent stem cells in large animal models”, Subproject “Generation of iPS from mini-pigs (IPSILAM)”
  • 2008-2014 DFG Research Unit 1041 “Germ cell potential”, “Epigenetic analysis of imprinting in the bovine oocyte”
  • 2008-2010 DFG Research Unit 478 „Mechanismen der ebryo-maternalen Kommunikation“,     Subproject “Transcriptomics of bovine preimplantation embryos”
  • 2006-2012 Excellence Cluster “From Regenerative Biology to Reconstructive Therapy (Rebirth)”
  • 2006-2010 Joint project of the European Union XENOME
  • 2004-2007 Transregio Research Unit Xenotransplantation (FOR 535) Generation of multi-transgenic pigs for xenotransplantation
  • 2000-2004 Joint project of the European Union “Ex ovo omnia”
  • 1999-2001 Joint project of the European Union (FAIR-Programme) “Embryonic origin of health and welfare: a new concept for understanding the susceptibility to diseases”


  • 2010-2011 EFSA Expert Committee on Safety of transgenic animals and products thereof
  • 2009 Member of the Expert Committee „Animal Breeding and Biotechnology“ of the German chamber of Veterinarians (Deutsche Tierärzteschaft)
  • since 2007 Election as chairperson of the DGfZ-Fachbeirat
  • 2007 WHO Expert committee: Transgenic animals and safety of products thereof
  • 2007 / 08 / 12 EFSA expert committee on Safety of somatic cloning of animals and their products
  • since 2007 Board of the Yak/Camel Foundation
  • 2004 / 05 Program chair 31st Annual Conference of the IETS, Copenhagen, DK, and editor of the proceedings: Reproduction, Fertility and Development 17(1,2) 1-328.
  • 2002-2005 Vice Chairman of the Scientific Advisory Board of the German Primate Center (DPZ) and concomitantly member of the Board of Governors of the DPZ (Aufsichtsrat)
  • since 2000 Chairman of the Examen committee of the Veterinary Chamber Lower Saxony (Tierärztekammer Niedersachsen) as Specialized Veterinarian for Gene technology and Molecular genetics (Fachtierarzt für Molekulargenetik und Gentechnologie), Germany
  • 2000-2004 Member of the Expert Committee „Animal Breeding and Biotechnology“ of the German chamber of Veterinarians (Deutsche Tierärzteschaft)
  • 1998-2005 Member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the German Primate Center (DPZ) in Göttingen, Germany
  • 1998-2003 Member of the Expert committee on "Xenotransplantation" of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Federal chamber of Medical doctors (Bundesärztekammer), Germany
  • 1997 Program-chairperson for the Int. Pig reproduction conference (ICPR), Rolduc, Netherlands
  • 1994-1996 Member of the Board of Governors of the Int. Embryo Transfer Society (IETS)
  • 1993-1995 AETd-President
  • since 1993 Member of the Standing Committee of the International Conference on Pig Reproduction (ICPR)
  • 1992-1993 Program Chairman 19th IETS-Meeting, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA and editor of the Proceedings. Theriogenology 39, 1-352.
  • 1991-1993 German Association of Embryo Transfer (AETd), Vice President
  • 1989-2000 National Consultant of the OECD for Biotechnology in Animals
  • 1989-1994 Chairman of the IETS-Publications Committee (main Editor of IETS-Newsletter)
  • 1988-1990 Member of the Board of Governors of the Int. Embryo Transfer Society (IETS)
  • 1988-1989 IETS President (regular 1 year term)

Honours and Memberships

  • 2017 Herrmann von Nathusius Medal of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Züchtungskunde (DGfZ)
  • 2017 Pioneers Award of the International Embryo Transfer Society
  • 2016 “Ehrennadel” of the Bundestierärztekammer for outstanding engagement for veterinarians
  • 2012 Martin Lerche Scientific Award of the Deutsche Veterinärmedizinische Gesellschaft (DVG)
  • since 2008 Member of the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina
  • 2007 Federation Fellowship from the Australian Research Council (ARC)
  • 2006 Winner Conceptual phase of Biotech company founding initiative Life Sciences,  Science4Life
  • 1987 Recipient of the Biotechnology award of the H.W. Schaumann Foundation




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