Prof. Dr. Thorsten Kessler

ERC Starting Grant

The extracellular matrix as a mediator of cell-cell communication in cardiovascular inflammation
Department of Cardiovascular Diseases

Academic Career and Research Areas

Thorsten Kessler (*1984) investigates, why certain genetic variants increase the risk of myocardial infarction. His goal is to identify novel therapeutic strategies to prevent myocardial infarction and to develop individualized therapy concepts. In addition, he investigates mechanisms in vascular remodeling and develops new devices to improve the outcome of patients suffering from coronary artery disease.

Dr. Kessler studied medicine at universities in Homburg and Munich. During his studies, he investigated the role of genetic variants in calcium channels and received his MD in Experimental Pharmacology. He did his clinical training at the University Hospital Schleswig-Holstein in Lübeck, the German Heart Centre Munich and the Klinikum rechts der Isar. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine, Cardiology and Intensive Care Medicine. Since 2017, he leads an independent reseaarch group at the German Heart Centre Munich. In 2020, he received his postdoctoral lecture qualification and is currently an interventional cardiologist and attending physician at the Department of Cardiology.


  • Albert-Fraenkel-Prize 2024, German Cardiac Society (2024)
  • ERC Starting Grant (2022)
  • Heisenberg Programme, German Research Foundation (2022)
  • August Wilhelm and Liselotte Becht Research Prize, German Heart Research Foundation
  • Prevention Prize, German Society of Internal Medicine (2020)

Mauersberger C, Sager HB, Wobst J, Dang TA, Lambrecht L, Koplev S, Stroth M, Bettaga N, Schlossmann J, Friebe A, Björkegren JLM, Dietz L, Sandner P, Soehnlein O, Schunkert H, Kessler T. Loss of soluble guanylyl cyclase in platelets contributes to atherosclerotic plaque formation and vascular inflammation. Nat Cardiovasc Res 2022, 1, 1174–1186.


Wierer M, Werner J, Wobst J, Kastrati A, Cepele G, Aherrahrou R, Sager HB, Erdmann J, Dichgans M, Flockerzi V, Civelek M, Dietrich A, Mann M, Schunkert H, Kessler T. A proteomic atlas of the neointima identifies novel druggable targets for preventive therapy. Eur Heart J 2021, 42, 1773-1785.


Winkler MJ, Müller P, Sharifi AM, Wobst J, Winter H, Mokry M, Ma L, van der Laan SW, Pang S, Miritsch B, Hinterdobler J, Werner J, Stiller B, Güldener U, Webb TR, Asselbergs FW, Björkegren JLM, Maegdefessel L, Schunkert H, Sager HB, Kessler T. Functional investigation of the coronary artery disease gene SVEP1. Basic Res Cardiol 2020, 115, 67.


Kessler T, Wobst J, Wolf B, Eckhold J, Vilne B, Hollstein R, von Ameln S, Dang TA, Sager HB, Rumpf PM, Aherrahrou R, Kastrati A, Björkegren JLM, Erdmann J, Lusis AJ, Civelek M, Kaiser FJ, Schunkert H. Functional characterization of the GUCY1A3 coronary artery disease risk locus. Circulation 2017, 136, 476-489.


Kessler T, Zhang L, Liu Z, Yin X, Huang Y, Wang Y, Fu Y, Mayr M, Ge Q, Xu Q, Zhu Y, Wang X, Schmidt K, de Wit C, Erdmann J, Schunkert H, Aherrahrou Z, Kong W. ADAMTS-7 inhibits re-endothelialization of injured arteries and promotes vascular remodeling via cleavage of thrombospondin-1. Circulation 2015, 131, 1191-1201.