Kullak-Ublick Gerd

Group Leader

Prof. Dr. med Gerd A. Kullak-Ublick


Name of the Institution

Department of Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology

University Hospital Zurich

Raemistrasse 100

8091 Zurich


Phone +41 44 255 20 68

Main Field(s) of Research, Abstract

Our department focusses on drug safety, from both a clinical and a basic research perspective. The OATP family of transporters was first described in our lab and we have characterized their function and regulation in health and in liver disease. The role of nuclear receptors such as FXR and VDR in the transcriptional regulation of transporters as well as their epigenetic regulation are areas of ongoing research. The importance of inhibition of hepatocellular efflux transporters as a cause of drug-induced liver injury (DILI) is being studied in vesicle transport assays developed in our lab, notably the role of the bile salt export pump (BSEP). We are also studying the potential of novel biomarkers to detect liver injury due to drugs and other causes. Finally, the effects of obesity and novel therapeutic agents on transporter expression in the liver, kidney and intestine are being studied in rodent models.

Main Fields of Research, Keywords

Drug transport and metabolism, organic anion and cation transport, liver-specific gene regulation, pharmacogenomics and genetics, bile acids, cholestasis, drug-induced liver injury (DILI), drug safety, pharmacovigilance, nuclear receptors, hepatocyte nuclear factors.

Special Techniques and Equipment

Reporter gene assays, electrophoretic mobility shift assays, cell transfection, transport assays, protein-protein interactions, antibody syntheses, TaqMan PCR.

Education and Training

We have training opportunities for PhD students, MD doctoral students and postdoctoral fellows (PhD, MD).

Selected Publications

Kullak-Ublick GA, Merz M, Griffel L, Kaplowitz N, Watkins PB. Liver safety assessment in special populations (hepatitis B, C, and oncology trials). Drug Saf 2014; 37 Suppl 1: S57-62

Gai Z, Hiller C, Chin SH, Hofstetter L, Stieger B, Konrad D, Kullak-Ublick GA. Uninephrectomy augments the effects of high fat diet induced obesity on gene expression in mouse kidney. Biochim Biophys Acta 2014; 1842: 1870-78

Eloranta JJ, Hiller C, Jüttner M, Kullak-Ublick GA. The SLCO1A2 gene, encoding the human organic anion transporting polypeptide 1A2, is transactivated by the vitamin D receptor. Mol Pharmacol 2012; 82: 37-46

Ma L, Jüttner M, Kullak-Ublick GA, Eloranta JJ. Regulation of the gene encoding the intestinal bile acid transporter ASBT by the caudal-type homeobox proteins CDX1 and CDX2. Am J Physiol Gastrointest Liver Physiol 2012; 302: G123–G133

Russmann S, Jetter A, Kullak-Ublick GA. Pharmacogenetics of drug-induced liver disease. Hepatology 2010; 52: 748-61

Jung D, Fantin AC, Scheurer U, Fried M, Kullak-Ublick GA. Human ileal bile acid transporter gene ASBT (SLC10A2) is transactivated by the glucocorticoid receptor. Gut 2004; 53: 78-84

Jung D, Hagenbuch B, Gresh L, Pontoglio M, Meier PJ, Kullak-Ublick GA. Characterization of the human OATP-C (SLC21A6) gene promoter and regulation of liver-specific OATP genes by hepatocyte nuclear factor 1a. J Biol Chem 2001; 276: 37206-37214

Kullak-Ublick GA, Ismair MG, Stieger B, Landmann L, Huber R, Pizzagalli F, Fattinger K, Meier PJ, Hagenbuch B. Organic anion transporting polypeptide B (OATP-B) and its functional comparison with three other OATPs of human liver. Gastroenterology 2001; 120: 525-533


Swiss National Science Foundation (http://p3.snf.ch/person-107127-Kullak-Ublick-Gerd)


Link to "Forschungsdatenbank" of the University