Our research focuses on improving the outcomes of children with cancer

Communication is everything: cause and therapy in leukemia and neuroblastoma

Dr. Peter Nollau

Dr. Peter Nollau

»We are interested in how cancer cells process signals. Cancer cells behave differently from normal cells. We want to elucidate these differences in order to develop new, targeted therapies.«

Leukemia is caused by alterations of the genome which fundamentally change the molecular makeup of cancer cells and have a major impact on cellular signaling processes. We are interested in how these signaling processes are altered in different types of leukemia, particularly in high-risk leukemia with BCR-ABL1-like expression signatures, with the aim to identify novel targets for patient-tailored therapy. Neuroblastoma, a heterogeneous tumor derived from the peripheral nervous system, frequently occurs during childhood. As with leukemia, cellular signaling processes are tightly controlled by posttranslational modifications such as phosphorylation and glycosylation resulting in the attachment of phosphate groups or sugar moieties to signaling proteins. We want to characterize these posttranslational modifications in detail with the aim to determine the impact of phosphorylation and glycosylation on the clinical course and prognosis of neuroblastoma and childhood leukemia.

After studying medicine in Hamburg, Peter Nollau earned his medical doctorate at the University of Hamburg Medical School in 1992. As a physician, he took up his research activities at the Diagnostic Center of the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf. The main focus of his research was on the detection of tumor mutations, protein glycosylation and the role of cell adhesion molecules in malignant diseases.

In 1999, funded by a research grant of the German Research Foundation (DFG), Peter Nollau started his research activities at Children's Hospital, Harvard Medical School in Boston, USA, focusing on phosphotyrosine-binding domains in signal transduction in cancer, which he continued after returning to the Institute for Clinical Chemistry at the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf in 2001. His research activities is focusing on decoding of aberrant signaling processes in human cancer cells with the major aim to better understand signaling in malignant diseases for the development of novel, targeted cancer therapies.

In spring 2014 Nollau became a research group leader at the Research Institute Children’s Cancer Center Hamburg, where on the basis of his longstanding cooperation with the institute, he is studying aberrant signal transduction, phosphorylation and glycosylation in high-risk childhood leukemia and neuroblastoma.

European Union

German Cancer Aid

German Federal Ministry of Education and Research

Nollau P, Wolters-Eisfeld G, Mortezai N, Kurze AK, Klampe B, Debus A, Bockhorn M, Niendorf A, Wagener C. Protein domain histochemistry (PDH): binding of the carbohydrate recognition domain (CRD) of recombinant human glycoreceptor CLEC10A (CD301) to formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded breast cancer tissues. J Histochem Cytochem. 2013; 61:199-205.

Machida K, Khenkhar M, Nollau P. Deciphering Phosphotyrosine-Dependent Signaling Networks in Cancer by SH2 Profiling. Genes Cancer. 2012;3:353-61.

Brandt DT, Baarlink C, Kitzing TM, Kremmer E, Ivaska J, Nollau P, Grosse R. SCAI acts as a suppressor of cancer cell invasion through the transcriptional control of beta1-integrin. Nat Cell Biol. 2009; 11:557-68. 

Machida K, Thompson CM, Dierck K, Jablonowski K, Kärkkäinen S, Liu B, Zhang H, Nash PD, Newman DK, Nollau P, Pawson T, Renkema GH, Saksela K, Schiller MR, Shin DG, Mayer BJ. High-throughput phosphotyrosine profiling using SH2 domains. Mol Cell. 2007; 26:899-915.

Dierck K, Machida K, Voigt A, Thimm J, Horstmann M, Fiedler W, Mayer BJ, Nollau P. Quantitative multiplexed profiling of cellular signaling networks using phosphotyrosine-specific DNA-tagged SH2 domains. Nat Methods. 2006; 3:737-44.

Nollau P, Mayer BJ. Profiling the global tyrosine phosphorylation state by Src homology 2 domain binding. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2001; 98:13531-6. 


Complete List of Publications: Pubmed

Dr. Sophia Buhs

Dipl. Biochemist, postdoctoral fellow
Phone: +49 (0)40 / 42605-1235

Helwe Gerull

Helwe Gerull

Medical Technical Assistant
Phone: +49 (0) 40 / 4260 -1235


Annika Kurze

Dr. Anna-Katharina Kurze

Dipl. Biologist, postdoctoral fellow
Phone: +49 (0) 40 / 42605-1214