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Bernhard Boehm


Professor Bernhard Boehm 
Ong Tiong Tat Chair Professor in Diabetes Research 
Professor of Metabolic Medicine
Principal Investigator, Immuno-Metabolism Laboratory
Research Programme: Metabolic/Vascular Diseases


  • A​ssistant Professor Rinkoo Dalan (Clinical Research)
  • Associate Professor Melvin Leow (Clinical Research)

  • Associate Professor Daniel Chew (Clinical Research)

  • Alvin Koh, PhD, Research Fellow (Lab)

  • Rosi Chelliah, Research Associate​ (Lab)


Research training
  • In biochemistry at Gustav-Embden-Zentrum for Biological Chemistry, Johann Wolfgang Goethe-University, Frankfurt am Main, Germany, under Professor Dusan Drahovsky;
  • In clinical immunology at University Hospital Ulm, Germany, under Professor Ernst-Friedrich Pfeiffer and Professor Werner Scherbaum;
  • In immunogenetics and epidemiology at University of Pittsburgh, USA, under Professor Massimo Trucco; 
  • and islet cell research at University of Uppsala, Sweden.

Doctoral thesis in 1985 (Inaugural dissertation) on diagnostic test development to identify Systemic lupus erythematosus working at the Gustav-Embden-Zentrum for Biological Chemistry, Johann Wolfgang Goethe-University, Frankfurt am Main, Germany.

Habilitation thesis in 1993 on the role of autoimmunity in endocrine diseases. The habilitation was based on independent scholarship, which was reviewed by and successfully defended before an academic committee of Goethe University (PhD equivalent).

Prof Boehm is known for his pioneering work on autoimmune diabetes in children and classical and atypical autoimmune diabetes forms in adults. He was one of the first to set up population-based cohorts to study diabetes development in children and adults and to further characterise risk factors related to micro- and cardiovascular complications.


Clinical training and clinical responsibilities

Prof 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 under Professor Schoeffling and Professor Usadel. 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 Research Training Group 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 diabetes heterogeneity, in particular late onset autoimmune diabetes and the vascular complications in subjects with metabolic diseases.


Scientific Publications

Prof Boehm has published more than 400 papers in the internationally peer-reviewed journals; H-index 80, more than 25,000 citations as of January 2018. 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 LKCMedicine, Prof Boehm has pioneered studies on the cross-talk between immune cells and insulin-producing ß-cells of the pancreas and late-onset autoimmune diabetes.​


Research Focus

Metabolic disorders, including diabetes mellitus consist of a heterogeneous group of disorders. The research team at LKCMedicine aims to precisely dissect the aetiological heterogeneity of the various forms of diabetes mellitus. The studies focus on the autoantibody signatures, drivers of low-grade inflammation as a hallmark of all metabolic disorders, through application of novel research tools such as lab on the chip and microfluidics technologies. The ultimate goal is the identification of targets for intervention and mitigation of early ß-cell failure 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 LKCMedicine and the clinical partners in Singapore.​

Research Spotlight


Selected Publications

Dorajoo R, Ali Y, ... Boehm BO (2017).  Single-cell transcriptomics of East-Asian pancreatic islets cells. Scientific Reports, 7(1):5024.

Hou HW, Petchakup C, ... Boehm BO (2016). Rapid and label-free microfluidic neutrophil purification and phenotyping in diabetes mellitus. Scientific Reports, 6:29410.

Tam ZY, Ng SP, Tan LQ, ... Boehm BO, et al. (2017). Metabolite profiling in identifying metabolic biomarkers in older people with late-onset type 2 diabetes mellitusScientific Reports, 7(1):4392.

Paul DS, Teschendorff AE, ... Boehm BO, et al. (2016). Increased DNA methylation variability in type 1 diabetes across three immune effector cell typesNature Communications, 7:13555.

Hou HW, Petchakup C, ... Boehm BO (2016). Rapid and label-free microfluidic neutrophil purification and phenotyping in diabetes mellitus. Scientific Reports, 6:29410.

NCD Risk Factor Collaboration (NCD-RisC) (2016). Worldwide trends in diabetes since ​1980: a pooled analysis of 751 population-based studies with 4.4 million participantsThe Lancet, 387(10027):1513-1530.


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