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Willenbring Lab »  Alumni »  Postdoctoral Fellows »  Alexander Laemmle, M.D., Ph.D.
Alexander Laemmle, M.D., Ph.D.

Alexander Laemmle, M.D., Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Department of Pediatrics, Universitätsspital Bern, Switzerland

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  • University of Bern, Switzerland, School of Medicine, MD, 2004
  • University of Bern, Switzerland, Division of Visceral and Transplantation Surgery, PhD, 2010
  • 2009 - 2013 Residency in Pediatrics, University Children`s Hospital Bern, Switzerland
  • 2013 - 2016 Fellowship, Division of Pediatric Metabolic Diseases, University Children`s Hospital Zurich, Switzerland
  • 2015 - 2016 Postdoctoral training, Division of Pediatric Metabolic Diseases, University Children`s Hospital Zurich, Switzerland
  • Postdoctoral Fellowship at University Children`s Hospital Zurich, Switzerland
  • Pediatrics
  • Rare diseases
  • Inborn errors of metabolism
  • Urea cycle disorders
  • Acute liver failure
  • General pediatrics
  • Pediatric metabolic medicine
  • Acute liver failure
  • Hypoxia and HIF-1 signaling
  • Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC)
  • iPSC-derived hepatocytes
  • Sirtuins
  • Urea cycle disorders

Alexander Laemmle, M.D., Ph.D. is a postdoctoral fellow in the Willenbring lab at UCSF.

During his MD-PhD thesis, he focused on the regulation of hepatic cancer cell metabolism upon hypoxic conditions. At that time, he was mainly interested in the question how hepatic cancer cells adapt to hypoxic conditions, thereby promoting cell survival.

During his residency as a pediatrician, he encountered his first urea cycle disorder patients and based on this  experience, he became a specialist in pediatric metabolism. After completing his residency, he had the great opportunity to work as a clinical and research fellow in the Division of Metabolism at the Children`s University Hospital in Zurich between 2013 and 2016. 

His research interest is dedicated to patients with urea cycle disorders (UCDs). In a significant proportion of patients with UCDs, i.e. ornithine transcarbamylase deficiency (OTCD), there is a severe impairment of liver function with concomitant coagulopathy during the course of the disease. In certain patients there is a strong correlation between metabolic state and liver affection (the higher the ammonia levels, the worse the liver impairment and coagulopathy). The aim is to better characterize and understand the pathophysiology underlying the (probably) ammonia-induced liver impairment. To do so, he is currently reprogramming UCD patient fibroblasts into induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) in order to differentiate them into iPSC-derived hepatocytes and to establish a liver disease model of acute liver failure in UCD patients.

  1. Poster: The role of hyperammonemia in acute liver failure in urea cycle disorders. 5th FZK/CRC Retreat, Zurich, Switzerland, October 2015.
  2. Poster: Clinical and Laboratory Investigation of the Pathophysiology of Acute Liver Failure in Ornithine Transcarbamylase Deficiency (OTCD). SSIEM Annual Symposium, Lyon, France, September 2015.
  3. Oral presentation: Acute Liver Failure and Coagulopathy in Hyperammonemic Patients with Ornithine Transcarbamylase Deficiency. Jahrestagung der Arbeitsgemeinschaft fuer Paediatrische Stoffwechselstoerungen, Fulda, Germany, March 2015.
  4. Poster: Fatal hyperammonemia and carbamoyl phosphate synthetase 1 (CPS1) deficiency following high-dose chemotherapy and autologous hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. Jahrestagung der Arbeitsgemeinschaft fuer Paediatrische Stoffwechselstoerungen, Fulda, Germany, March 2015.
  5. Oral presentation: Propionic acidemia in a previously healthy adolescent with acute onset of dilated cardiomyopathy. Jahrestagung der Arbeitsgemeinschaft fuer Paediatrische Stoffwechselstoerungen, Fulda, Germany, March 2014.
  6. Poster: Fatal hyperammonemia following autologous hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. 3rd FZK/CRC Retreat, Zurich, Switzerland, October 2013.
  7. Poster: Interplay between hypoxia-inducible-factor 1a and SIRT1 protein deacetylase. 1stRare Diseases Summer School radiz- Rare Disease Initiative Zürich, Zurich, Switzerland, July 2013.
  8. Poster: Fatal hyperammonemia following autologous hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. Annual Meeting of the Swiss Society of Pediatrics, Lucerne, Switzerland, May 2012.
  9. Oral presentation: Targeting SIRT1 for anti-tumor therapy: Inhibition of SIRT1 down regulates HIF-1α.Annual Meeting of the Swiss Society of Surgery, Basel, Switzerland, May 2008.
  10. Poster: Targeting SIRT1 for anti-tumor therapy: Inhibition of SIRT1 down-regulates HIF-1α. Keystone Symposium: Molecular, Cellular, Physiological, and Pathogenic Responses to Hypoxia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, January 2008.
  11. Poster: Targeting SIRT1 for anti-tumor therapy: Inhibition of SIRT1 down-regulates HIF-1α. Inaugural ILCA (International Liver Cancer Association) Annual Conference, Barcelona, Spain, October 2007.
  12. Poster: Dual induction of PKR (dsRNA activated protein kinase) with E2F1 Gene therapy and Interferon alpha to enhance apoptosis in a hepatocellular carcinoma model. Roh V, Laemmle A et al. American Association of Cancer Research, Los Angeles, USA, April 2007.
  13. Oral presentation: Tumor monitoring in animal models by the tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinases (TIMP-1). Annual Meeting of the Swiss Society of Surgery, Lugano, Switzerland, June 2006.
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