Prof. Christiane Josephine Bruns is the director of the department of general, visceral, tumor, and transplantation surgery at the University of Cologne, Germany, a position she has held since 2016. She is also the vice-director of the Comprehensive Cancer Center CIO Koln-Bonn.
Professor Bruns was born in Hamburg, Germany, the daughter of Dr. Klaus Bruns, a chemist, and Dr. Marlene Bruns, a gynecologist. She completed her medical training at the University of Dusseldorf Medical School in 1990 and a dissertation on “Pathobiomechanics of the Sternoclavicular Joint” in the department of orthopaedic surgery at Dusseldorf in 1992. She then joined the general surgery residency training at the University of Cologne. During her training, she was accepted into a three-year postdoctoral fellowship under the direction of Isaiah J. Fidler, DVM, PhD, in the department of cancer biology at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston.
She graduated from her residency in 2001 and, upon passing her postgraduate training exam as a gastrointestinal (GI) surgeon, the equivalent of U.S. board certification, she joined the department of surgery faculty at the University of Munich-Groshadern, Germany, in 2002 as assistant professor of surgery. She furthered her skills in esophageal, hepatobiliary/pancreatic, and transplantation surgery by completing additional fellowship training in Toronto, ON, under the direction of Professor Steven Gallinger, MD, MSc, FRCSC; in Milan, Italy, under Professor Luigi Bonavina, MD; and in Paris, France, under Professor Henri Bismuth, MD, FACS(Hon). She also conducted research on paracrine effects of pancreatic cancer cells, tumor angiogenesis, anti-angiogenic therapy, and molecular mechanism of pancreatic cancer metastases.
She obtained board certification in visceral surgery in 2005 and was named chairman of the GI tumor board and head attending in surgical oncology at the University of Munich-Groshadern before being promoted to professor of surgery in 2009. She was appointed vice-director of the Munich-Groshadern’s department of surgery in 2011 and earned an additional board certification in thoracic surgery in 2012.
Professor Bruns is described by Professor Hans G. Beger, MD, FACS, as, “a skilled academic clinician who is able to maintain, simultaneously, excellence in clinical care, impactful research, and career mentorship of students and trainees.”
Her clinical focus is esophageal cancer surgery and treatment of pancreatic cancer with research efforts centered on the molecular mechanisms of metastasis, therapy resistance, the tumor microenvironment, and the cancer stem cell subpopulations and their impact for outcomes related to pancreatic and esophageal cancer. She has published more than 130 original peer-reviewed papers in Nature Medicine, Blood, Annals of Surgery, British Journal of Surgery, Cancer Biology & Therapy, Clinical Cancer Research, Cancer Research, and International Journal of Cancer. She has been the recipient of numerous awards, including the von Langenbeck’s Award of the German Society of Surgery and the Society of General and Visceral Surgery. She and her research team have twice received the German Society of Surgery’s Fritz-Linder Award. She holds memberships in several international medical organizations and serves as treasurer of the European Surgical Association.