Professor Dr. Hamid Kashkar appointed to W3 professorship in Molecular Immunology

01.01.2022 | TopNews Prof. Dr. Hamid Kashkar

Prof. Dr. Hamid Kashkar | ©Michael Wodak, MedizinFotoKöln

Prof. Dr. Hamid Kashkar, previously at the Institute of Medical Microbiology, Immunology and Hygiene and at the research cluster CECAD as a research group leader, will receive a W3 professorship for Molecular Immunology at the Medical Faculty of the University of Cologne as of January 1, 2022. The newly established professorship is linked to the establishment of a dedicated Institute at the Faculty of Medicine.

Hamid Kashkar's research, entitled "Cell Death and Immunity", deals with the role of cellular death mechanisms in the pathogenesis of immune diseases and has a high radiance for Cologne as a research location. Kashkar is involved in several special research areas of the Faculty of Medicine and Mathematics and Natural Sciences. For example, Hamid Kashkar is project leader in the Collaborative Research Center (SFB) 1218 "Regulation of cellular function by mitochondria" (spokesperson: Prof. Elena Rugarli) as well as project leader in the recently established SFB 1530 "Elucidation and targeting of pathogenic mechanisms in B-cell neoplasia" (spokesperson: Prof. Michael Hallek). In addition, Hamid Kashkar is co-spokesperson of the SFB 1403 "Cell Death in Immunity, Inflammation and Disease" (spokesperson: Prof. Dr. Manolis Pasparakis) and is also involved in other collaborative project proposals of the University of Cologne. Decisive impetus for this was provided by the sustained support of the Center for Molecular Medicine Cologne (ZMMK), which pushed his clinic-oriented and disease-relevant research. "I am very much looking forward to the establishment of an Institute of Molecular Immunology with the aim of advancing the discipline in research and teaching and to enable the training of young scientists in this increasingly important field," said Prof. Hamid Kashkar. "The institute will serve as a catalyst for the development of novel and targeted therapies for the treatment of immune diseases, infection and cancer," adds Professor Kashkar.

As an immunologist, Hamid Kashkar is interested in the impact of cell death on the immune system. Different forms of cell death release specific mediators that induce selective immune responses. Together with his research group, he was recently able to show that different types of cell death are molecularly linked to guarantee the death of a degenerated or infected cell. Caspase-8, a protein shear (protease), plays a central role in this process and dictates various tissue responses. The study "Caspase-8 is the molecular switch for apoptosis, necroptosis and pyroptosis" was published in the prestigious journal Nature. Immunologist Kashkar's findings play an important role in understanding immunity to cancer and infection, including future therapeutic treatment options.

Born in Tehran, Iran, in 1968, Hamid Kashkar earned a Bachelor of Science degree in biology from Urmia University, Iran, in 1991. He then moved to the University of Cologne, Germany, and received his diploma in biology in 2000. In 2002, he received his PhD with Summa cum Laude in Biology/Genetics. He habilitated in Molecular Immunology in 2008 (award for the best habilitation) and was appointed apl Professor in 2015. From 2005 to 2010, he was a research group leader at the Cologne Institute of Medical Microbiology, Immunology and Hygiene (IMMIH). In 2011, Hamid Kashkar earned the Career Development Award at ZMMK and further qualified as an independent scientist. Since 2014, Hamid Kashkar has been conducting research as an independent research group leader at the CECAD Cluster of Excellence as well as at IMMIH.