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Institute for Experimental Paediatric Haematology and Oncology (EPHO)*

The Institute for Experimental Paediatric Haematology and Oncology works at the interface of biochemical, cell and molecular biological basic research on the one hand and applied clinical research in pediatric oncology on the other. The spectrum of clinical-translational research with its basic research-oriented, disease-oriented and patient-oriented aspects is represented.

* Formerly “Institute for Experimental Cancer Research in Pediatrics”

Developing new therapeutic approaches for the treatment of cancer

The overall goal of the Institute for Experimental Paediatric Haematology and Oncology, headed by Prof. Dr. Heckl, is to investigate fundamental cellular processes that underlie tumour formation in children and adolescents. Our long-term goal is to better understand the cellular and molecular processes in cancer cells to support the translation of basic research into innovative therapeutic strategies for the treatment of children with cancer. The close cooperation between the Institute for Experimental Paediatric Haematology and Oncology and the Department of Paediatric and Adolescent Medicine of the Goethe University Frankfurt creates a crucial bridge between basic research and its translation into clinical practice. Furthermore, the Institute for Experimental Paediatric Haematology and Oncology is closely intertwined with the Departments of Medicine and of Mathematics and Natural Sciences of the Goethe University Frankfurt and benefits from the collaboration with numerous national and international partners.

The fundamental research-oriented projects conducted in the Institute aim to identify and characterize the molecular mechanisms, signalling pathways and vital processes that regulate cell fate in healthy tissue and tumours in children and adolescents.

In summary, the Institute for Experimental Paediatric Haematology and Oncology employs state-of-the-art methodologies to develop innovative therapeutic approaches based on novel scientific findings. The long-term goal is to translate the research results into clinical applications and to improve the treatment of childhood cancers.


Prof. Dr. Dirk Heckl
Phone +49 (0)69 678665-57
Fax +49 (0)69 678665 9157

Executive Assistance & Project Management

Christina Hugenberg
Phone +49 (0)69 678665-58
Fax +49 (0)69 678665 9158

Research groups

Research group Dr. Meike Vogler

Since 2002 Dr. Vogler has been investigating the significance of apoptosis (the suicide program of cells) for the development and treatment of cancer with a special focus on pediatric malignancies. Dr. Vogler combines basic research with patient-oriented approaches with the aim of translating novel cancer therapies into clinical practice.

Dr. Vogler studied Human Biology in Greifswald and, from 2002 to 2006, completed her doctoral thesis at the Children’s Hospital of the University of Ulm under the supervision of Simone Fulda and  Klaus-Michael Debatin. After a postdoctoral stay in the lab of Gerry Cohen at the Medical Research Council (MRC) Toxicology Unit in Leicester, UK, from 2011 to 2016 she worked as Assistant Professor at the University of Leicester. Since her return to Germany in 2017, Dr. Vogler holds the position of lab head in the Institute of Experimental Cancer Research in Pediatrics.

Dr. Vogler’s received several research awards, e.g. the prestigious Catovsky Prize of the UK CLL Forms in 2008. She published in more than 40 research articles in internationally highly recognized journals.

Dr. Meike Vogler
Phone +49 (0)69 678 665-74

Research group Dr. Sjoerd van Wijk

Dr. Sjoerd van Wijk graduated cum laude in Biological Health Sciences at Maastricht University, Netherlands, and subsequently obtained his PhD at the University Medical Center, Utrecht University, Netherlands. After working as a postdoctoral researcher at the Institute of Biochemistry II with Prof. Ivan Dikic at the Goethe University Frankfurt, Dr. van Wijk joined the Institute for Experimental Cancer Research in Pediatrics, first as a senior postdoc and subsequently as a group leader. His research focuses on understanding the interplay of ubiquitination, autophagy and programmed cell death in controlling inflammation and cancer in children and adults.

With tumor cell lines, spheroids, patient-derived organoids and preclinical mouse models, Dr. van Wijk uses innovative state-of-the-art technologies to bridge the gap between basic and translational research in pediatric malignancies.

Dr. van Wijk is actively involved in undergraduate teaching in Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine at the Goethe University Medical Faculty, as well as in the supervision of Master and Medical students.

Sjoerd J. L. van Wijk, PhD
Phone +49 (0)69 678 665-74

Scientific and technical staff


Frankfurt Foundation
for children with cancer
Komturstraße 3a
60528 Frankfurt

Phone +49 (0)69 678665-0
Fax +49 (0)69 678665-94

Donation account

Frankfurter Sparkasse 1822
IBAN: DE43 5005 0201 1245 6354 40

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