Short CV/Education and training

  • 1997 – 1999
    Junior doctor in the Department of Neurology at the University Hospital of Würzburg, Germany (Director: Prof. Dr. med. K. V. Toyka)

  • 1999 – 2001
    Research associate at the Clinic of Neurology at the University Hospital of Tübingen, Germany (Director: Prof. Dr. med. J. Dichgans), in the research group of Prof. Dr. med. M. Bähr

  • 2001 – 2007
    Member of the medical staff and research associate at the Neurology Clinic at the University of Göttingen (Director: Prof. Dr. med. M. Bähr)

  • 2006 – 2007
    Senior consultant

  • 2003 – 2007
    Head of the junior research group "Neurodegeneration and neuroprotection in multiple sclerosis", funded by the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Göttingen

  • 2007 – 2011
    Senior consultant at the Neurology Clinic at Saarland University, Germany (Director: Prof. Dr. med. K. Fassbender), and director of the special outpatient clinic for MS patients that has been certified by the German Multiple Sclerosis Society, head of the research group "Neuroinflammation"

  • Since 2011
    Senior consultant in the Neurooncology Department; after the fusion in 10/2014, senior consultant in the Department of Neurology (Director: Prof. Dr. med. W. Wick), Faculty of Medicine, Heidelberg University

    Director of the HeiCuMed programme in Clinical Neurosciences (neurology, neurooncology, neurosurgery, neuroradiology) and spokesperson for HeiCuMed Block III (clinical neurosciences, psychiatry, ophthalmology, otorhinolaryngology, infectiology, immunology, dermatology)

    Spokesperson for the German Research Foundation (DFG) Research Unit FOR 2289, "Calcium homeostasis in neuroinflammation and –degeneration: New targets for therapy of multiple sclerosis?"

Selected publications

  • Davies AL, Desai RA, Bloomfield PS, McIntosh PSR, Chapple KJ, Linington C, Fairless R, Diem R, Kasti M, Murphy MP, Smith KJ. Neurological deficit caused by tissue hypoxia in neuroinflammatory disease. Ann Neurol 2013; 74:815-2.

  • Fairless R, Williams SK, Hoffmann DB, Stojic A, Hochmeister S, Schmitz F, Storch MK, Diem R. Preclinical retinal neurodegeneration in a rat model of multiple sclerosis. J Neurosci 2012; 32(16):5585-97.

  • Sühs KW, Hein K, Sättler MB, Görlitz A, Ciupka C, Scholz K, Käsmann-Kellner B, Papanagiotou P, Schäffler N, Restemeyer C, Bittersohl D, Hassenstein A, Seitz B, Reith W, Fassbender K, Hilgers R, Heesen C, Bähr M, Diem R. A randomized, double-blind, phase 2 study of erythropoietin in optic neuritis. Ann Neurol 2012; 72(2):199-210.

  • Gadjanski I, Boretius S, Williams SK, Lingor P, Knöferle J, Sättler MB, Fairless R, Hochmeister S, Sühs KW, Michaelis T, Frahm J, Storch MK, Bähr M, Diem R. Role of N-type voltage-dependent calcium channels in autoimmune optic neuritis. Ann Neurol 2009; 66(1):81-93.

  • Diem R, Sättler MB, Merkler D, Demmer I, Maier K, Stadelmann C, Ehrenreich H, Bähr M. Combined therapy with methylprednsiolone and erythropoietin in a model of multiple sclerosis. Brain 2005; 128(Pt 2):375-85.

Complete list of publications

Selected projects

  • What role does calcium play in multiple sclerosis?

  • The German Research Foundation (DFG) is providing funding in the amount of 2.7 million Euros for an interdisciplinary research group under the leadership of Heidelberg University Hospital: For those with multiple sclerosis (MS), the immune system attacks the body's own nerve tissue, causing nerve cells to die. Could calcium dysregulation in the affected cells be the cause of and a stimulus to this chronic disease? Answering this pivotal question will be the focus of a new German Research Foundation (DFG) research group under the leadership of Professor Dr. Ricarda Diem from the Department of Neurology at Heidelberg University Hospital. Teams of researchers from Heidelberg, Homburg, Hamburg-Eppendorf and Münster are collaborating in the research group. They will be working together on interdisciplinary projects to investigate what could disturb calcium homeostasis, how this could cause a change in the interaction between immune cells and nerve cells, and the significance this would have for the progression of MS. The group has another goal, to identify starting points for new therapies that would be able to regulate calcium homeostasis in immune cells or nerve cells. The research group "Calcium homeostasis in neuroinflammation and neurodegeneration" will receive initial funding from the DFG for three years.

  • A new treatment concept for multiple sclerosis: Doping nerve cells.

  • A pilot study has shown that the hormone erythropoietin (EPO) protects nerve cells in the optic nerve and retina and prevents them from dying. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) will provide 1 million Euros to Heidelberg University Hospital and the University of Freiburg Medical Centre for a clinical study. The Heidelberg neurologist Professor Dr. Ricarda Diem has demonstrated that the hormone erythropoietin, also known as the drug EPO, can prevent the death of nerve cells when it is used to treat inflammation of the optic nerve, which occurs during an early stage of the autoimmune disease multiple sclerosis. The new treatment concept will now be investigated in a large-scale clinical trial at the Heidelberg University Hospital and at the University of Freiburg Medical Centre. The number of patients enrolled in the study as of February 2016 is 51 out of the 100 available places.

Membership in scientific bodies/juries

  • Member of the Interdisciplinary Centre for Neurosciences (IZN), Heidelberg

  • Member of the awards committee for the Chica and Heinz Schaller Award in the Neurosciences

  • Member of the selection committee for the Physician-Scientist Programme and the Olympia Morata Funding Programme at Heidelberg University

  • Member of the board of the Interdisciplinary Neurobehavioral Core (INBC) Institute, Heidelberg

Additional qualifications

  • Neurology coordinator for the multicentre clinical trial "Treatment of optic neuritis with erythropoietin" ("TONE"; Identifier: NCT01962571)

Soft Skills/Other activities and achievements

Other activities and achievements/family

  • Married with two children


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