MedUni Vienna: Two new central professors take up their posts at MedUni Vienna

Andreas Sönnichsen is the new Professor of General Medicine, Matthias Preusser takes over Internal Oncology

Two new professors will take up their posts at the Medical University of Vienna on 01 October 2018. Andreas Sönnichsen will take over the Chair of General Medicine, which has been vacant for three years and under interim management, as well as management of the Institute of General Medicine at MedUni Vienna's Center for Public Health. Matthias Preusser will take over Medical Oncology at MedUni Vienna/Vienna General Hospital.

Andreas Sönnichsen is taking over the Chair of General Medicine and management of the Division of General and Family Medicine at MedUni Vienna's Center for Public Health.

Sönnichsen's main research interests are evidenced-based medicine and quality of medical care, also including patient safety and polymedication. Until recently, Sönnichsen headed up the five-year EU PRIMA-EDS project at Witten/Herdecke, which focused on developing and testing an algorithm-based, electronic decision-making aid for general practitioners treating polypharmacy patients. "Our studies show that 20 – 30% of the medicines prescribed to older patients with polymedication are unnecessary or even harmful – in combination with necessary medicines."

"An efficient healthcare system needs robust general medicine," explains Sönnichsen, "a competent general practitioner relieves the burden on hospitals and outpatient clinics." General practitioners must be qualified in diagnosis, doctor-patient communication and evidence-based treatment. To this end, Sönnichsen wants to expand and develop the general medicine content of MedUni Vienna's curriculum, thereby further enhancing quality and elevating the professional status of general practitioners.

About Andreas Sönnichsen

Andreas Sönnichsen studied medicine at Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich, where he then worked as a research assistant and completed his specialist training in Internal Medicine and General Medicine. While still working as a registered specialist in Munich, in 2004 he went to work as a research assistant at the Institute of General Medicine a Phillips University of Marburg, primarily because he wanted to be involved in teaching and research again.

In 2006 he took over the Chair of General Medicine at the Paracelsus Medical University in Salzburg (Director of the Institute of General, Family and Preventive Medicine), moving to Witten/Herdecke University in 2012 to take over the Chair of General Medicine and Family Medicine. Sönnichsen is on the Board of the Evidence-Based Medicine Network. He has published and authored numerous medical textbooks such as the EbM Guidelines – Evidence-based Medicine for Clinical Practice, the 7th edition of which has just been published by medical publishers “Verlagshaus der Ärzte”.

Preusser's main research interests are precision medicine and immunotherapy

Preusser's main research interests are precision medicine and immunotherapy in brain tumours. His research work is concerned with molecular changes with prognostic and therapeutic relevance in gliomas, meningiomas, lymphomas and brain metastases of lung cancer, breast cancer and melanoma. Preusser leads local, national and international Phase I - III clinical trials on the targeted treatment and immunotherapy of cancer.

His goals for the successful expansion of the Division are to not only create an effective and efficient organisational structure by implementing a layer of middle management but also to position oncology as an attractive area of development for young doctors. He strives to create national and international career path for oncologists, centred on modern, research-led teaching. From a scientific point of view, Preusser wants to focus on expanding translational research ("bench to bedside and bedside to bench") and establishing a Phase-I unit for early clinical studies in the field of oncological precision medicine and immunotherapy.

About Matthias Preusser

Matthias Preusser is a German citizen and has lived in Vienna since his schooldays, now with his wife and two children. Until recently he was Deputy Head of the Division of Oncology within the Department of Medicine I and supervised the specialist outpatient clinics for brain tumours and gastro-oesophageal tumours. As a member of Comprehensive Cancer Center Vienna of MedUni Vienna/Vienna General Hospital (CCC), he was responsible for coordinating the brain tumour unit (CCC-CNS) with several interdisciplinary working groups and coordinated the “Immuno-oncology" tumour board.

Matthias Preusser is a consultant in Internal Medicine, Haematology and Internal Oncology. Following a one-year study placement at the University of Southwestern Louisiana (USL), Lafayette, USA, he studied medicine at the Medical Faculty of the University of Vienna, from which he graduated in 2003 to start his specialist training in Internal Medicine. He gained his postdoctoral qualification (“habilitation”) in the field of Experimental Oncology in 2009 and in Internal Medicine in 2016. In 2011, he spent six months on a research placement at the German Cancer Research Centre at Heidelberg University and, in 2013, completed a training placement at the Upper Gastro-Esophageal Tumors Unit of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York. Preusser serves in leading functions for international professional societies such as the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO), European Association of Neuro-Oncology (EANO) and European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC).

Amongst other things, Preusser is Director of the brain metastases programme at MedUni Vienna’s Department of Medicine I, Coordinator of the Immuntherapy Tumorboard and Coordinator of the Central Nervous System Tumours Unit (CCC-CNS) of the Comprehensive Cancer Center (CCC) of MedUni Vienna and Vienna General Hospital, as well as Head of the CCC Cancer School. In addition, he has authored numerous studies and specialist articles, is co-author of the “World Health Organization (WHO) Classification of Tumours of the Central Nervous System”, deputy editor-in-chief of the international scientific journal “ESMO Open” and publisher of a textbook on internal medicine. Matthias Preusser has received numerous awards and research grants, including the Sibylle Assmus funding award, the City of Vienna Research Funding Award and the Kardinal Innitzer Funding Award.