Professor Bernhard Boehm


Professor Bernhard Boehm
Professor of Metabolic Medicine
Principal Investigator, Immuno-Metabolism Laboratory

Laboratory Staff

  • Rosi Chelliah, Research Associate
  • Ong Yoong Hun, Research Associate
  • Dr Alvin Koh Wei Choon, PhD, Research Fellow
  • Dr Hou Han Wei, PhD, Senior Research Fellow



Professor Bernhard Boehm graduated in Medicine from the Johann Wolfgang Goethe-University in Frankfurt am Main, Germany in 1985. He joined the Department of Internal Medicine at the Johann Wolfgang Goethe-University Medical Centre in 1985. He received the Board Certificate in Internal Medicine and the Board Certificate in Endocrinology and Diabetology, conferred by the Chamber of Physicians State Hesse, Germany, in 1992 and 1993 respectively.

In the year 1993, Prof Boehm was appointed as Full Professor of Internal Medicine and the Head of the Division of Diabetes, Endocrinology and Metabolism, as well as the Director College for Nutritionists, Ulm University Medical Centre. Prof Boehm was the acting Dean (Graduate Medical Studies) of Ulm University from 2006 to 2009.

Prof Boehm had also held the following positions:

  • Vice-President of the International Graduate School in Molecular Medicine of Ulm University (2004- 2013)
  • President of the DFG funded Graduate School of Molecular Diabetology and Endocrinology (2005-2013)
  • Vice-President of the DFG funded Initiative Programme on “Pancreatic diseases” (1999-2011)


Award and Grants: 

Prof Boehm was the recipient of several professional awards including the prestigious Gerhard Hess Award in 1993 by the German Research Council (DFG). In the year 1995, he was awarded the Ernst-Friedrich Pfeiffer Award by the German Diabetes Association.

In the field of Translational Medicine, Prof Boehm has made seminal contributions to the field of diabetes and metabolic medicine. His research work has received funding from the German Research Council (DFG), the Ministry of Sciences of Germany (BMBF), the European Commission, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation International, U.S.A., and the National Institutes of Health, U.S.A.

Prof Boehm has initiated several cohort studies specifically “Define the genetic and epigenetic basis of islet cell autoimmunity (EU BLUEPRINT project)”; and “Describe several key environmental factors that drive the autoimmune destruction of the insulin-producing cells of the pancreas”. These population-based cohort studies were financially supported by European Commission as well as industry partners such as Sanofi-Aventis, Boehringer Ingelheim and Fresenius Kabi.

In the field of Genetic Epidemiology, Prof Boehm has significantly contributed to elucidating the genetic basis of micro- and macrovascular complications in patients with metabolic diseases.

Scientific Publications:

Prof Boehm has published more than 400 papers in the internationally peer-reviewed journals. His work is extensively cited in the scientific literatures in the field of diabetes, endocrinology and metabolism. He is the editor of several textbooks in Diabetes mellitus and Clinical Chemistry and has acted as the co-editor of several international journals.

Upon joining Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine (LKCMedicine), Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Prof Boehm has pioneered studies to apply novel animal models of experimental autoimmune diabetes, with the intention to pinpoint the cross-talk between immune cells and insulin-producing ß-cells, in order to dictate the role of key factors in beta cell survival and death.


Research Focus

Metabolic disorders, including diabetes mellitus consist of a heterogeneous group of disorders, characterized by an excess of fat deposition, raised blood pressure, higher levels of insulin, pro-insulin, and dyslipidemia. The trend for increase in the prevalence of metabolic disorders, coupled with earlier onset of metabolic disorders, has led to an ever-increasing burden on modern societies. The newly formed research team at LKCMedicine aims to precisely dissect the aetiological heterogeneity of the various forms of metabolic disorders. The studies will include various model systems, together with the specific focus on the drivers of low-grade inflammation, a hallmark of all metabolic disorders, through application of novel research tools such as lab on the chip technologies. The ultimate goal is the identification of targets for intervention and mitigation of ß-cell failure and metabolic disease associated vascular complications, in particular Asian cohorts.
The present largely overlooked cross talk between organ systems, in the context of metabolic disorders, such as pancreas to liver, skeletal muscle to liver and pancreas will form the core research efforts at the LKCMedicine. This will include pre-clinical as well as clinical studies, on the bidirectional interplay between metabolic and vascular tissues, skeletal muscle, liver and fat cells. Prof Boehm and his team hypothesise that environmental factors – including the gut microbiome - play a crucial role in this interplay.
Disruption to the homeostasis drives the vicious cycle, leading to a variety of metabolic disorders that modern societies currently encounter. Ultimately, the clinical picture portrayed will also largely be dependent on the individual genetic and epigenetic signatures. Therefore, the potential to influence the development for novel therapeutic interventions will depend on a modulation of the “unhealthy environmental signals” combined with a thorough understanding of the mechanisms involved.

 LKCMedicine Research Spotlight



Key Publications

  1. Paul DS, Teschendorff AE, Dang MA, Lowe R, Hawa MI, Ecker S, Beyan H, Cunningham S, Fouts AR, Ramelius A, Burden F, Farrow S, Rowlston S, Rehnstrom K, Frontini M, Downes K, Busche S, Cheung WA, Ge B, Simon MM, Bujold D, Kwan T, Bourque G, Datta A, Lowy E, Clarke L, Flicek P, Libertini E, Heath S, Gut M, Gut IG, Ouwehand WH, Pastinen T, Soranzo N, Hofer SE, Karges B, Meissner T, Boehm BO, Cilio C, Elding Larsson H, Lernmark Å, Steck AK, Rakyan VK, Beck S, Leslie RD. Increased DNA methylation variability in type 1 diabetes across three immune effector cell types. Nat Commun. 2016 Nov 29;7:13555.
  2. Hou HW, Petchakup C, Tay HM, Tam ZY, Dalan R, Chew DE, Li KH, Boehm BO. Rapid and label-free microfluidic neutrophil purification and phenotyping in diabetes mellitus. Sci Rep. (Nature Publishing) 2016 Jul 6;6:29410. doi: 10.1038/srep29410.
  3. Stifter K, Schuster C, Schlosser M, Boehm BO, Schirmbeck R. Exploring the induction of preproinsulin-specific Foxp3+/CD4+ Treg cells that inhibit CD8+/T cell-mediated autoimmune diabetes by DNA vaccination. Sci Rep. (Nature Publishing) 2016 Jul 11;6:29419.
  4. NCD Risk Factor Collaboration (NCD-RisC). Worldwide trends in diabetes since 1980: a pooled analysis of 751 population-based studies with 4.4 million participants. Lancet. 2016 Apr 9;387(10027):1513-30. Member NCD-RISC
  5. Ram R, Mehta M, Nguyen QT, Larma I, Boehm BO, Pociot F, Concannon P, Morahan G. Systematic Evaluation of Genes and Genetic Variants Associated with Type 1 Diabetes Susceptibility. J Immunol. 2016 Apr 1;196(7):3043-53.
  6. Boehme MW, Buechele G, Frankenhauser-Mannuss J, Mueller J, Lump D, Boehm BO*, Rothenbacher D*. Prevalence, incidence and concomitant co-morbidities of type 2 diabetes mellitus in South Western Germany--a retrospective cohort and case control study in claims data of a large statutory health insurance. BMC Public Health. 2015 Sep 3;15:855. * joined senior authorship
  7. Dorajoo R, Liu J, Boehm BO. Genetics of Type 2 Diabetes and Clinical Utility. Genes (Basel). 2015 Jun 23;6(2):372-84.
  8. Arrojo E Drigo R, Ali Y, Diez J, Srinivasan DK, Berggren PO, Boehm BO. New insights into the architecture of the islet of Langerhans: a focused cross-species assessment. Diabetologia. 2015 Oct;58(10):2218-28
  9. Wang B, Hawa MI, Rijsdijk FV, Fain PR, Paschou SA, Boehm BO*, Steck AK*, Snieder H*, Leslie RD*. Heritability of thyroid peroxidase autoantibody levels in type 1 diabetes: evidence from discordant twin pairs. Diabetologia. 2015 Sep;58(9):2079-86.  * joined senior authorship
  10. CARDIoGRAMplusC4D Consortium, Deloukas P,..,Boehm BO,.., Samani NJ. Large-scale association analysis identifies new risk loci for coronary artery disease. Nat Genet. 2013 Jan;45(1):25-33. 
  11. Merger SR, Leslie RD, Boehm BO. The broad clinical phenotype of Type 1 diabetes at presentation. Diabet Med. 2013;30(2):170-8