Univ.-Prof. Dr. med. Claus Cursiefen, FEBO, FARVO

Department of Ophthalmology
University of Cologne
Kerpener Strasse 62
50937 Cologne, GERMANY
Tel. (+49)-221-478 4300
Fax. (+49)-221-478 5094
Email: claus.cursiefen@uk-koeln.de


Project leader

Scientific career

1988-1995 Study of Medicine, Universities of Regensburg, Würzburg, Dundee/St. Andrews and London, German Medical State Exam, USMLE

1995-2001 Residency in Ophthalmology, Dept. of Ophthalmology, University of Erlangen (Prof. Gottfried Naumann)

1997 Doctorate degree (Dr. med.), Dept. of Anatomy, University of Würzburg: “summa cum laude” (Prof. Detlev Drenckhahn)

2001 European and German Board Exam in Ophthalmology, International Council of Ophthalmology (ICO) Exam

2002-2004 DFG Postdoctoral fellow at Schepens Eye Research Institute, Harvard Medical School, Boston (Prof. Wayne Streilein)

2003 Habilitation and Venia Legendi, University of Erlangen

2004-2011 Privatdozent and Staff member (Oberarzt), Dept. of Ophthalmology, University of Erlangen, Director of Cornea Bank

2005-2011 Principal Investigator, Interdisciplinary Center for Clinical Research (IZKF) Erlangen. Member and later head of Commission for Junior Scientists.

2008-2012 Principal Investigator, SFB 643 (Strategies for cellular immune intervention)

2009- Adjunct Associate Scientist and Visiting Professor, Schepens Eye Research Institute, Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary

2011- Member of the Board, Section Cornea, German Ophthalmological Society

2011 University Professor (W2) for Cornea and anterior segment Ophthalmology, University of Erlangen

2011- University Professor (W3) Ophthalmology, University of Cologne

2011- Chairman, Dept. of Ophthalmology and University Eye Hospital Cologne

2012- President, European Network for Excellence in Corneal Regeneration (NEXCR), Leiden

2012- Member of CIO (Center for Integrated Oncology), Cologne-Bonn

2014- Member of the Board, Novaliq GmbH, Heidelberg

2014- Chair, EU COST Action BM1302 “Joining Forces in corneal regeneration”

2015- Speaker of the DFG Research Unit FOR 2240 “Angiogenesis, Lymphangiogenesis and Cellular Immunity in Inflammatory Diseases of the Eye” at the Department of Ophthalmology, University of Cologne

2015- Principal Investigator of Project 1 “Induction of transplant tolerance by antihem- and antilymphangiogenic therapies” in the DFG Research Unit FOR 2240 “Angiogenesis, Lymphangiogenesis and Cellular Immunity in Inflammatory Diseases of the Eye” at the Department of Ophthalmology, University of Cologne

2015-8 Principal Investigator of Project 2 “Identification of novel endogenous modulators of (inflammatory) lymphangiogenesis by analyzing mouse strain-specific differences” in the DFG Research Unit FOR 2240 “Angiogenesis, Lymphangiogenesis and Cellular Immunity in Inflammatory Diseases of the Eye” at the Department of Ophthalmology, University of Cologne

2016- Work Package Leader of the Horizons 2020 research consortium ARREST BLINDNESS, funded by the European Union, an associated project of the DFG Research Unit FOR 2240 “Angiogenesis, Lymphangiogenesis and Cellular Immunity in Inflammatory Diseases of the Eye” at the Department of Ophthalmology, University of Cologne

2016- Delegate Ophthalmology, German Research Foundation (DFG), Bonn

2017- Co-Principal Investigator, B3 “Novel therapeutic role of myeloid cell-derived VEGF-C and lymphangiogenesis in resolution of corneal inflammation and reestablishment of corneal transparency”, Center for Molecular Medicine Cologne (CMMC)

2018- Principal Investigator of Project P1 “Induction of corneal transplant tolerance by anti(lymph)angiogenic therapy” in the DFG Research Unit FOR 2240 “Angiogenesis, Lymphangiogenesis and Cellular Immunity in Inflammatory Diseases of the Eye” at the Department of Ophthalmology, University of Cologne

2018- Co-Applicant of Project P2 “Identification of novel endogenous modulators of developmental and inflammatory lymphangiogenesis by analyzing mouse strain-specific differences” in the DFG Research Unit FOR 2240 “Angiogenesis, Lymphangiogenesis and Cellular Immunity in Inflammatory Diseases of the Eye” at the Department of Ophthalmology, University of Cologne

2018- Co-Applicant of Project N2 “The role of ABCB5-expressing limbal epithelial stem cells in corneal lymphangiogenic privilege and pterygium pathogenesis” in the DFG Research Unit FOR 2240 “Angiogenesis, Lymphangiogenesis and Cellular Immunity in Inflammatory Diseases of the Eye” at the Department of Ophthalmology, University of Cologne

2018- Member Steering Board, European Vision Institute, Brussels

2018-2019 President German Ophthalmological Society (DOG)

2019- Vice Chair EU Cost Action Aniridia (www.aniridia-net.eu)

2020 Secretary General, German Ophthalmological Society (DOG)

2022- Associate member, CECAD Cluster of Excellence, Cologne

2022 LKP, PI, Prospective CrossCornealVision (BMBF)

2022- PI, EU Horizon Health RESTORE VISION

2023- Vice Rector for Research University of Cologne

2023- Founder, European Vision Institute, Basel

Prizes and honors

1988 Study travel award, ZIS e.V./German UNESCO, Schule Schloss Salem

1989-1995 Study Scholarship, Konrad-Adenauer-Foundation e.V., Bonn

1991-1992 DAAD-Study Scholarship, University of Dundee/St. Andrews, GB

1997 Doctorate in Medicine award, Medical Faculty, University of Würzburg

2003 Poster award, German Ophthalmological Society, DOG, Berlin

2004 Travel Grant, Eye Bank Association of America (ARVO 2004)

2004 “Cora Verhagen Award”, Section Immunology ARVO (Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology)

2005 1st place “Best Poster Award”, V. World Cornea Congress, Washington

2005 Sicca-Research Award, DOG 2005, Berlin

2006 Research Award 2006, Dr. Walter and Luise Freundlich Foundation, Frankfurt

2006 Research Award 2006, Society for Microcirculation and Vascular Biology e.V. (GfMVB), Munich

2007 Nomination for “European Leadership Development Program” 2007-2009 Societas Ophthalmologica Europeae, Vienna

2007 Research Award, German Ophthalmological Society, DOG, Berlin

2010 “Best paper award”, 1st EUCORNEA Meeting, Venice

2012 “Achievement Award”, American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO), Chicago

2014 Mahlon Barlow, MD Lecture, Wilmer Ophthalmological Institute, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore

2014 Best Paper Award, American Academy Ophthalmology, Chicago, USA

2017 Member of the German National Academy of Sciences (LEOPOLDINA)

2017 Erwin Niehaus Award, Düsseldorf (together with Prof. L.M. Heindl)

2018 Fellow of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO), USA

2018 Bronze Medal, German Ophthalmic Surgical Society (DOC)

2019 Visiting Professor, Tongji University, Shanghai

2019 Médaille d’Or Paul Chibret

2022 Nomination to Academia Ophthalmologica Internationalis (AOI)


Selected publications

Volatier T, Schumacher B, Cursiefen C, Notara M. UV Protection in the Cornea: Failure and Rescue. Biology (Basel). 2022 Feb 10;11(2):278.

Peil J, Bock F, Kiefer F, Schmidt R, Heindl LM, Cursiefen C, Schlereth SL. New Therapeutic Approaches for Conjunctival Melanoma-What We Know So Far and Where Therapy Is Potentially Heading: Focus on Lymphatic Vessels and Dendritic Cells. Int J Mol Sci. 2022 Jan 27;23(3):1478.

Peckert-Maier K, Schönberg A, Wild AB, Royzman D, Braun G, Stich L, Hadrian K, Tripal P, Cursiefen C, Steinkasserer A, Zinser E, Bock F. Pre-incubation of corneal donor tissue with sCD83 improves graft survival via the induction of alternatively activated macrophages and tolerogenic dendritic cells. Am J Transplant. 2022 Feb;22(2):438-454.

Schaub F, Hou Y, Zhang W, Bock F, Hos D, Cursiefen C. Corneal Crosslinking to Regress Pathologic Corneal Neovascularization Before High-Risk Keratoplasty. Cornea. 2021 Feb 1;40(2):147-155.

Siggel R, Schroedl F, Dietlein T, Koch KR, Platzl C, Kaser-Eichberger A, Cursiefen C, Heindl LM. Absence of lymphatic vessels in non-functioning bleb capsules of glaucoma drainage devices. Histol Histopathol. 2020 Dec;35(12):1521-1531.

Norrick A, Esterlechner J, Niebergall-Roth E, Dehio U, Sadeghi S, Schröder HM, Ballikaya S, Stemler N, Ganss C, Dieter K, Dachtler AK, Merz P, Sel S, Chodosh J, Cursiefen C, Frank NY, Auffarth GU, Ksander B, Frank MH, Kluth MA. Process development and safety evaluation of ABCB5+ limbal stem cells as advanced-therapy medicinal product to treat limbal stem cell deficiency. Stem Cell Res Ther. 2021 Mar 19;12(1):194.

Zhang W, Schönberg A, Hamdorf M, Georgiev T, Cursiefen C, Bock F. Preincubation of donor tissue with a VEGF cytokine trap promotes subsequent high-risk corneal transplant survival. Br J Ophthalmol. 2021 Nov 22:bjophthalmol-2021-319745.

Hou Y, Bock F, Hos D, Cursiefen C. Lymphatic Trafficking in the Eye: Modulation of Lymphatic Trafficking to Promote Corneal Transplant Survival. Cells. 2021 Jul 2;10(7):1661.

Hadrian K, Willenborg S, Bock F, Cursiefen C, Eming SA, Hos D. Macrophage-Mediated Tissue Vascularization: Similarities and Differences Between Cornea and Skin. Front Immunol. 2021 Apr 7;12:667830.

Le VNH, Hou Y, Bock F, Cursiefen C. Supplemental Anti Vegf A-Therapy Prevents Rebound Neovascularisation After Fine Needle Diathermy Treatment to Regress Pathological Corneal (LYMPH)Angiogenesis. Sci Rep. 2020 Mar 3;10(1):3908.

Hos D, Matthaei M, Bock F, Maruyama K, Notara M, Clahsen T, Hou Y, Le VNH, Salabarria AC, Horstmann J, Bachmann BO, Cursiefen C. Immune reactions after modern lamellar (DALK, DSAEK, DMEK) versus conventional penetrating corneal transplantation. Prog Retin Eye Res. 2019 Jul 3. pii: S1350-9462(18)30078-8.

Hou Y, Le VNH, Tóth G, Siebelmann S, Horstmann J, Gabriel T, Bock F, Cursiefen C. UV light crosslinking regresses mature corneal blood and lymphatic vessels and promotes subsequent high-risk corneal transplant survival. Am J Transplant. 2018;18:2873-2884.

Heindl LM, Koch KR, Hermann MM, Merkelbach-Bruse S, Schultheis AM, Wagener S, Büttner R, Mauch C, Schuler-Thurner B, Schuler G, Cursiefen C. Block Excision of Iridociliary Tumors Enables Molecular Profiling and Immune Vaccination. Ophthalmology 2017;124:268-270.

Matthaei M, Sandhaeger H, Hermel M, Adler W, Jun AS, Cursiefen C, Heindl LM. Changing Indications in Penetrating Keratoplasty: A Systematic Review of 34 Years of Global Reporting. Transplantation. 2017 Jun;101(6):1387-1399.

Schrittenlocher S, Penier M, Schaub F, Bock F, Cursiefen C, Bachmann B. Intraocular Lens Calcifications after (Triple-) Descemet Membrane Endothelial Keratoplasty (DMEK). Am J Ophthalmol. 2017 May 5. pii: S0002-9394(17)30193-9.

Cursiefen C, Bock F, Clahsen T, Regenfuss B, Reis A, Steven P, Heindl LM, Bosch JJ, Hos D, Eming S, Grajewski R, Heiligenhaus A, Fauser S, Austin J, Langmann T. [New Therapeutic Approaches in Inflammatory Diseases of the Eye – Targeting Lymphangiogenesis and Cellular Immunity: Research Unit FOR 2240 Presents Itself]. Klin Monbl Augenheilkd. 2017 May;234(5):679-685.

Bock F, Cursiefen C. [Anti(lymph)angiogenic Strategies to Improve Corneal Graft Survival]. Klin Monbl Augenheilkd. 2017 May;234(5):674-678.

Cursiefen C, Heiligenhaus A. [“Translational Research in Ophthalmology is Important!”]. Klin Monbl Augenheilkd. 2017 May;234(5):650-651.

Grajewski RS, Barahmand Pour N, Burian K, Caramoy A, Kirchhof B, Cursiefen C, Heindl LM. Analysis of the impact of allergy and atopy on new onset of uveitis. Acta Ophthalmol. 2017 May;95(3):e236-e241.

Enders P, Holtick U, Schaub F, Tuchscherer A, Hermann MM, Scheid C, Cursiefen C, Bachmann BO. Corneal Densitometry for Quantification of Corneal Deposits in Monoclonal Gammopathies. Cornea. 2017 Apr;36(4):470-475.

Schaub F, Enders P, Bachmann BO, Heindl LM, Cursiefen C. Effect of corneal collagen crosslinking on subsequent deep anterior lamellar keratoplasty (DALK) in keratoconus. Graefes Arch Clin Exp Ophthalmol. 2017 Apr;255(4):811-816.

Hos D, Tuac O, Schaub F, Stanzel TP, Schrittenlocher S, Hellmich M, Bachmann  BO, Cursiefen C. Incidence and Clinical Course of Immune Reactions after Descemet Membrane Endothelial Keratoplasty: Retrospective Analysis of 1000 Consecutive Eyes. Ophthalmology. 2017 Apr;124(4):512-518.

Lorenz K, Scheller Y, Bell K, Grus F, Ponto KA, Bock F, Cursiefen C, Flach J, Gehring M, Peto T, Silva R, Tal Y, Pfeiffer N. A prospective, randomised, placebo-controlled, double-masked, three-armed, multicentre phase II/III trial for the Study of a Topical Treatment of Ischaemic Central Retinal Vein Occlusion  to Prevent Neovascular Glaucoma – the STRONG study: study protocol for a randomised controlled trial. Trials. 2017 Mar 16;18(1):128.

Schaub F, Enders P, Roters S, Cursiefen C, Bachmann BO. Single-pass Ultrathin DSAEK (UT-DSAEK) with the SLc Expert Microkeratome(®). Acta Ophthalmol. 2017 Mar;95(2):e160-e161.

Schaub F, Enders P, Bluhm C, Bachmann BO, Cursiefen C, Heindl LM. Two-Year Course of Corneal Densitometry After Descemet Membrane Endothelial Keratoplasty. Am J Ophthalmol. 2017 Mar;175:60-67.

Siebelmann S, Gehlsen U, Le Blanc C, Stanzel TP, Cursiefen C, Steven P. Detection of graft detachments immediately following Descemet membrane endothelial keratoplasty (DMEK) comparing time domain and spectral domain OCT. Graefes Arch Clin Exp Ophthalmol. 2016 Dec;254(12):2431-2437.

Siebelmann S, Bachmann B, Lappas A, Dietlein T, Hermann M, Roters S, Cursiefen C, Steven P. [Intraoperative optical coherence tomography in corneal and glaucoma surgical procedures]. Ophthalmologe. 2016 Aug;113(8):646-50.

Siebelmann S, Bachmann B, Lappas A, Dietlein T, Steven P, Cursiefen C. [Intraoperative optical coherence tomography for examination of newborns and infants under general anesthesia]. Ophthalmologe. 2016 Aug;113(8):651-5.

Siebelmann S, Steven P, Cursiefen C. [Intraoperative Optical Coherence Tomography In Deep Anterior Lamellar Keratoplasty]. Klin Monbl Augenheilkd. 2016 Jun;233(6):717-21.

Tahmaz V, Gehlsen U, Sauerbier L, Holtick U, Engel L, Radojska S, Petrescu-Jipa VM, Scheid C, Hallek M, Gathof B, Cursiefen C, Steven P. Treatment of severe chronic ocular graft-versus-host disease using 100% autologous serum eye drops from a sealed manufacturing system: a retrospective cohort study. Br J Ophthalmol. 2016 Jun 6. pii: bjophthalmol-2015-307666.

Hoerster R, Stanzel TP, Bachmann BO, Siebelmann S, Felsch M, Cursiefen C. Intensified Topical Steroids as Prophylaxis for Macular Edema After Posterior Lamellar Keratoplasty Combined With Cataract Surgery. Am J Ophthalmol. 2016;163:174-179.

Hos D, Bucher F, Regenfuss B, Dreisow ML, Bock F, Heindl LM, Eming SA, Cursiefen C. IL-10 Indirectly Regulates Corneal Lymphangiogenesis and Resolution of Inflammation via Macrophages. Am J Pathol. 2016;186:159-71.

Hos D, Dörrie J, Schaft N, Bock F, Notara M, Kruse FE, Krautwald S, Cursiefen C, Bachmann BO. Blockade of CCR7 leads to decreased dendritic cell migration to draining lymph nodes and promotes graft survival in low-risk corneal transplantation. Exp Eye Res Dec 12 2015; 146:1-6.[Epub ahead of print]

Siebelmann S, Hermann M, Dietlein T, Bachmann B, Steven P, Cursiefen C. Intraoperative Optical Coherence Tomography in Children with Anterior Segment Anomalies. Ophthalmology 2015;122(12):2582-4.

Notara M, Refaian N, Braun G, Steven P, Bock F, Cursiefen C. Short-term UVB-irradiation leads to putative limbal stem cell damage and niche cell-mediated upregulation of macrophage recruiting cytokines. Stem Cell Res. 2015;15(3):643-54.

Regenfuss B, Dreisow ML, Hos D, Masli S, Bock F, Cursiefen C.The Naïve Murine Cornea as a Model System to Identify Novel Endogenous Regulators of Lymphangiogenesis: TRAIL and rtPA. Lymphat Res Biol. 2015;13(2):76-84

Refaian N, Schlereth SL, Koch KR, Notara M, Hos D, Mescher M, Iden S, Bosch JJ, Jager MJ, Cursiefen C, Heindl LM. Comparing the Hem- and Lymphangiogenic Profile of Conjunctival and Uveal Melanoma Cell Lines. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2015;56(9):5691-7

Heindl LM, Kaser-Eichberger A, Schlereth SL, Bock F, Regenfuss B, Reitsamer HA, McMenamin P, Lutty GA, Maruyama K, Chen L, Dana R, Kerjaschki D, Alitalo K, De Stefano ME, Junghans BM, Schroedl F, Cursiefen C. Sufficient Evidence for Lymphatics in the Developing and Adult Human Choroid? Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2015;56(11):6709-10.

Schöllhorn L, Bock F, Cursiefen C. Thrombospondin-1 as a Regulator of Corneal Inflammation and Lymphangiogenesis: Effects on Dry Eye Disease and Corneal Graft Immunology. J Ocul Pharmacol Ther. 2015;31(7):376-85.

Schaub F, Cursiefen C, Heindl LM. Retrospective Appraisal of Split-Cornea Transplantation: An Audit of 1141 Donor Corneas. JAMA Ophthalmol. 2015;133(9):1086-7.

Lee HS, Hos D, Blanco T, Bock F, Reyes NJ, Mathew R, Cursiefen C, Dana R, Saban DR Involvement of corneal lymphangiogenesis in a mouse model of allergic eye disease. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2015;56(5):3140-8.

Hos D, Schlereth SL, Bock F, Heindl LM, Cursiefen C. Antilymphangiogenic therapy to promote transplant survival and to reduce cancer metastasis: what can we learn from the eye? Semin Cell Dev Biol. 2015;38:117-30.

Bucher F, Hos D, Müller-Schwefe S, Steven P, Cursiefen C, Heindl LM. Spontaneous long-term course of persistent peripheral graft detachments after Descemet’s membrane endothelial keratoplasty. Br J Ophthalmol. 2015;99(6):768-72.

Cursiefen C, Viaud E, Bock F, Geudelin B, Ferry A, Kadlecová P, Lévy M, Al Mahmood S, Colin S, Thorin E, Majo F, Frueh B, Wilhelm F, Meyer-Ter-Vehn T, Geerling G, Böhringer D, Reinhard T, Meller D, Pleyer U, Bachmann B, Seitz B. Aganirsen antisense oligonucleotide eye drops inhibit keratitis-induced corneal neovascularization and reduce need for transplantation: The I-CAN study. Ophthalmology. 2014;121:1683-92.

Bock F, Maruyama K, Regenfuss B, Hos D, Steven P, Heindl LM, Cursiefen C. Novel anti(lymph)angiogenic treatment strategies for corneal and ocular surface diseases. Prog Retin Eye Res. 2013;34:89-124.

Cursiefen C, Maruyama K, Bock F, Saban D, Sadrai Z, Lawler J, Dana R, Masli S. Thrombospondin 1 inhibits inflammatory lymphangiogenesis by CD36 ligation on monocytes. J Exp Med. 2011;208:1083-92.

Dietrich T, Bock F, Yuen D, Hos D, Bachmann BO, Zahn G, Wiegand S, Chen L, Cursiefen C. Cutting edge: lymphatic vessels, not blood vessels, primarily mediate immune rejections after transplantation. J Immunol. 2010;184:535-9.

Cursiefen C, Chen L, Borges LP, Jackson D, Cao J, Radziejewski C, D’Amore PA, Dana MR, Wiegand SJ, Streilein JW. VEGF-A stimulates lymphangiogenesis and hemangiogenesis in inflammatory neovascularization via macrophage recruitment. J Clin Invest. 2004;113:1040-50.