Prof. Dr. Walter Nickel

Walter Nickel

Biochemie-Zentrum der Universität Heidelberg (BZH)
Im Neuenheimer Feld 328
69120 Heidelberg
Phone: +49 (6221) 54-5425
Fax: +49 (6221) 54-4366

Position and Status

Professor of Biochemistry (W3)

Scholarships and awards

2016 - Jahrespreis der Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg
1998 - 2000 - Postdoctoral fellowship from the Human Frontiers Science Program
1997 - 1998 - Feodor-Lynen fellowship for postdoctoral research from the Alexander von Humboldt foundation
1995 - 1996 - Postdoctoral fellowship from the German Research Foundation (DFG)
1991 - 1994 - PhD student fellowship and member of the DFG Graduate School “Signal-vermittelter Transport von Proteinen und Vesikeln” at the Georg-August-Universität Göttingen

University training and degree

01/1990 - 12/1990 - Diploma thesis with Frank Grosse at the Max Planck Institute for Experimental Medicine, Göttingen
10/1985 - 12/1990 - Study of Biology at Georg-August-Universität Göttingen


Advanced academic qualifications

2001 - Habilitation (venia legendi) in Biochemistry, Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg; Mentor: Felix T. Wieland
1994 - PhD. in Biochemistry, Department of Clinical Biochemistry Georg-August-Universität Göttingen; Mentor: Hans-Dieter Söling
01/1991 - 04/1994 - Doctoral thesis with Hans-Dieter Söling at the Institute of Clinical Biochemistry, Georg-August-Universität Göttingen (Dr. rer. nat.)


Postgraduate professional career

12/2004 - present - Professor of Biochemistry at Heidelberg University Biochemistry Center, Faculty of Biosciences
05/2000 - 11/2004 - Independent Group leader at Heidelberg University Biochemistry Center
10/1997 - 04/2000 - Post-doctoral research fellow with James E. Rothman at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, U.S.A.
07/1994 - 09/1997 - Post-doctoral research fellow with Felix T. Wieland at the Institute for Biochemistry I, Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg

Coordinating Functions and Editorial Work

2016 - present - Founding Chair and Speaker of the DFG Collaborative Research Centre SFB/TRR 186 (Heidelberg/Berlin) “Molecular Switches in the Spatio- Temporal Control of Cellular Signal Transmission”
2014 - present -  Editorial Board Member, The Journal of Biological Chemistry
2010 - 2015 - Speaker of the DFG Graduate School GRK1188 "Quantitative Analysis of Dynamic Processes in Membrane Transport and Translocation" Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg
2009 – 2012 - Chairman of the Eurocores programme "EuroMembrane" of the European Science Foundation (ESF)

Most important publications

  1. Dimou E, Cosentino K, Platonova E, Ros U, Sadeghi M, Kashyap P, Katsinelos T, Wegehingel S, Noé F, García-Sáez AJ, Ewers H, Nickel W (2019) Single event visualization of unconventional secretion of FGF2. J Cell Biol 218:683-699

  2. Steringer JP. Lange S, Čujová S, Šachl R, Poojari C, Lolicato F, Beutel O, Müller HM, Unger S, Coskun Ü, Honigmann A, Vattulainen I, Hof M, Freund C, Nickel W (2017) Key Steps in unconventional secretion of fibroblast growth factor 2 reconstituted with purified components. eLife (e28985)

  3. Müller HM, Steringer JP, Wegehingel S, Bleicken S, Münster M, Dimou E, Unger S, Weidmann G, Andreas H, García-Sáez AJ, Wild K, Sinning I, Nickel W (2015) Formation of disulfide bridges drives oligomerization, membrane pore formation, and translocation of fibroblast growth factor 2 to cell surfaces. J. Biol. Chem. 290:8925-8937

  4. Zacherl S, La Venuta G, Müller HM, Wegehingel S, Dimou E, Sehr P, Lewis JD, Erfle H, Pepperkok R, Nickel W (2014) A direct role for ATP1A1 in unconventional secretion of fibroblast growth factor 2. J. Biol. Chem. 290:3654-3665

  5. Steringer JP, Bleicken S, Andreas H, Zacherl S, Laussmann M, Temmerman K, Contreras FX, Bharat TA, Lechner J, Müller HM, Briggs JA, García-Sáez AJ, Nickel W (2012) Phosphatidylinositol 4,5-bisphosphate [PI(4,5)P2]-dependent oligomerization of fibroblast growth factor 2 (FGF2) triggers the formation of a lipidic membrane pore implicated in unconventional secretion. J. Biol. Chem. 287:27659-27669

  6. Ebert AD, Laussmann M, Wegehingel S, Kaderali L, Erfle H, Reichert J, Lechner J, Beer HD, Pepperkok R, Nickel W (2010) Tec-kinase-mediated phosphorylation of fibroblast growth factor 2 is essential for unconventional secretion. Traffic 11:813-826

  7. Torrado, LC, Temmerman, K, Müller, HM, Mayer, MP, Seelenmeyer, C, Backhaus, R, and Nickel, W (2009) An Intrinsic Quality Control Mechanism Ensures Unconventional Secretion of Fibroblast Growth Factor 2 in a Folded Conformation. J. Cell Sci. 122:3322-3329

  8. Temmerman K, Ebert AD, Müller HM, Sinning I, Tews I, Nickel W (2008) A direct role for phosphatidylinositol-4,5-bisphosphate in unconventional secretion of fibroblast growth factor 2. Traffic 9:1204-1217

  9. Zehe C, Engling A, Wegehingel S, Schäfer T, Nickel W (2006) Cell-surface heparan sulfate proteoglycans are essential components of the unconventional export machinery of FGF-2. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 103:15479-15484

  10. Seelenmeyer C, Wegehingel S, Tews I, Künzler M, Aebi M, Nickel W (2005) Cell surface counter receptorsare essential components of the unconventional export machinery of galectin-1.
    J. Cell Biol. 17:373-381



Patent Application PCT/EP2015/073591:
Nickel W (2015) "Assay for FGF2 Secretion and Signalling"; WO2016/055664

Patent Application Number GB1605173.2:
Nickel W and Lewis JD (2016) “Inhibitors of the Unconventional Secretion of Fibroblast Growth Factor 2 (FGF2) by Tumour Cells and Uses Thereof”; 29 March 2016