Prof. Dr. Thomas B. Hildebrandt

Head of Department

Department of Reproduction Management

Tel: 0049 (0) 30 5168 - 440

External position: Chair of Wildlife Reproduction Medicine, Faculty for Veterinary Medicine, Freie Universität Berlin

Short curriculum vitae

Prof. Thomas Bernd Hildebrandt heads the department of Reproduction Management at Leibniz-IZW and is full Professor of Wildlife Reproduction Medicine at Freie Universität Berlin, as well as being an honorary professor at the University of Melbourne, Australia. From 1986 to 1992 he studied veterinary medicine at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, received his doctorate summa cum laude from Freie Universität Berlin and is certified as a zoo, wildlife and game veterinarian. In his special field, reproduction biology, he is one of the pioneers of assisted reproduction in large mammals, including elephants, rhinos, big cats, and panda bears. He is represented in a number of professional societies, is Honorary Professorial Fellow Life Sciences at Melbourne University, Research Associate of the Smithsonian Institution (National Zoological Park), Fellow of the Zoological Society of San Diego Zoo, Scientific Associate of the Taronga Conservation Society Australia, Conservation Fellow of the Zoological Society London and Veterinary Advisor for the European elephant Taxon Advisory Group. He is also a passionate supporter of the public communication of science, talking at science meetings across the globe and he has also presented his work on the BBC. He has served on numerous advisory bodies in Europe and elsewhere. He has been Associate Editor of Human Reproduction and Molecular Human Reproduction. He has published 153 papers, written 24 book chapters, given over 212 presentations (including 50 plenary lectures) and has 5 patents.

Research interests
  • Reproduction management
  • Animal reproduction
  • Assisted reproductive technology (ART)
  • Imaging techniques, particularly ultrasonography
  • Aging research
Selected publications

Hildebrandt TB, Hermes R, Goeritz F, Appeltant R, Colleoni S, de Mori B, Diecke S, Drukker M, Galli C, Hayashi K, Lazzari G, Loi P, Payne J, Renfree M, Seet S, Stejskal J, Swegen A, Williams SA, Zainuddin ZZ, Holtze S.  (2021). The ART of bringing extinction to a freeze - History and future of species conservation, exemplified by rhinos. Theriogenology. 169:76-88. doi: 10.1016/j.theriogenology.2021.04.006. Epub 2021 Apr 18. PMID: 33940218.

Holtze S, Gorshkova E, Braude S, Cellerino A, Dammann P, Hildebrandt TB,  Hoeflich A, Hoffmann S, Koch P, Terzibasi Tozzini E, Skulachev M, Skulachev VP, Sahm A. (2021). Alternative animal models of aging research. Frontiers in Molecular Biosciences, 8, 311. Accepted for publication 08.04.2021.

Wieland R, Ukawa C, Joschko M, Krolczyk A, Fritsch G, Hildebrandt TB, Schmidt O, Filser J, Jimenez JJ. (2021). Use of deep learning for structural analysis of computer tomography images of soil samples. R Soc Open Sci. 8:201275. doi: 10.1098/rsos.201275

Hildebrandt TB*, Holtze S*, Biasetti P, Colleoni S, de Mori B, Diecke S, Göritz F, Hayashi K, Hayashi M, Hermes R, Kariuki L, Lazzari G, Mijele D, Mutisya S, Ndeereh D, Ngulu S, Seet S, Zwilling J, Zywitza V, Stejskal J, Galli C. (2021). Conservation Research in Times of COVID-19–The Rescue of the Northern White Rhino. J APPL ANIM ETH RES. 20, 1(aop):1-22.doi:10.1163/25889567-BJA10009

Del Marmol D, Holtze S, Kichler N, Sahm A, Bihin B, Bourguignon V, Dogné S, Szafranski K, Hildebrandt TB, Flamion B. (2021). Abundance and size of hyaluronan in naked mole-rat tissues and plasma. Scientific Reports 11,7951. doi: 10.1038/s41598-021-86967-9. PMID: 33846452.

Hayashi K, Galli C, Diecke S., Hildebrandt TB. (2021). Artificially produced gametes in mice, humans and other species. REPROD FERT DEVELOP. 33, 91-101. doi:10.1071/RD20265

Walz M, Höflich C, Walz C, Ohde D, Brenmoehl J, Sawitzky M, Vernunft A, Zettl UK, Holtze S, Hildebrandt TB, Wolf E, Hoeflich A. (2021). Development of a Sensitive Bioassay for the Analysis of IGF-Related Activation of AKT/mTOR Signaling in Biological Matrices. Cells 10, 482. doi: 10.3390/cells10030482. PMID: 33668197; PMCID: PMC7995968.

de Mori B, Spiriti MM, Pollastri I, Normando S, Biasetti P, Florio D, Andreucci F, Colleoni S, Galli C, Göritz F, Hermes R, Holtze S, Lazzari G, Seet S, Zwilling J, Stejskal J, Mutisya S, Ndeereh D, Ngulu S, Vigne R, Hildebrandt TB.  (2021). An Ethical Assessment Tool (ETHAS) to Evaluate the Application of Assisted Reproductive Technologies in Mammals’ Conservation: The Case of the Northern White Rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum cottoni). ANIMALS. 11, 312. doi:10.3390/ani11020312

Braude S, Holtze S (co first authors), Begall S, Brenmoehl J, Burda H, Dammann P, del Marmol D, Gorshkova  E, Henning Y, Hoeflich A, Höhn A, Jung T, Hamo D, Sahm A, Shebzukhov Y, Šumbera R, Miwa S, von Zglinicki T, Hildebrandt TB (2020):  Surprisingly long survival of pre-mature conclusions about naked mole-rat biology. BIOL REV CAMB PHILOS SOC. doi:10.1111/brv.12660

Dhellemmes F, Hansen MJ, Bouet SD, Videler JJ, Domenici P, Steffensen JF, Hildebrandt TB, Fritsch G, Bach P, Sabarros PS, Krüger A, Kurvers RHJM, Krause J (2020): Oil gland and oil pores in billfishes: in search of a function. J EXP BIOL 223, jeb.224956. doi:10.1242/jeb.224956

Hermes R, Göritz F, Wiesner M, Richter N, Mulot B, Alerte V, Smith S, Bouts T, Hildebrandt TB (2020): Parturition in white rhinoceros. THERIOGENOLOGY 156, 181-188. doi:org/10.1016/j.theriogenology.2020.06.035

Wilson KD, Ameen M, Guo H, Abilez OJ, Tian L, Mumbach MR, Diecke S, Qin X, Liu Y, Yang H, Ma N, Gaddam S, Cunningham NJ, Gu M, Neofytou E, Prado M, Hildebrandt TB, Karakikes I, Chang HY, Wu JC (2020): Endogenous Retrovirus-Derived lncRNA BANCR Promotes Cardiomyocyte Migration in Humans and Non-human Primates. DEV CELL 54, 1-16. doi:10.1016/j.devcel.2020.07.006

Wauters J, Jewgenow K, Göritz F, Hildebrandt TB (2020): Could embryonic diapause facilitate conservation of endangered species? BIOSCIENTIFICA PROC 10. doi:10.1530/biosciprocs.10.005

Hansen MJ, Krause S, Breuker M, Kurvers RH, Dhellemmes F, Viblanc PE, Müller J, Mahlow C, Boswell K, Marras S, Domenici P, Wilson ADM, Herbert-Read JE, Steffensen JF, Fritsch G, Hildebrandt TB, Zaslansky P, Bach P, Sabarros PS, Krause J (2020): Linking hunting weaponry to attack strategies in sailfish and striped marlin. Proceedings of the Royal Society B, 287(1918), 20192228. doi: 10.1098/rspb.2019.2228.

Holtze S, Koch R, Hildebrandt TB, Lemma A, Szafranski K, Platzer M, Alemayehu F, Goeritz F, Braude S. (2020). Hematologic adaptation to the subterranean environment by the naked mole-rat, Heterocephalus glaber (Ctenohystrica: Heterocephalidae). J MAMMAL. 101, 1000-9.

Vyssokikh MY, Holtze S, Averina OA, Lyamzaev KG, Panteleeva AA, Marey MV, Zinovkin RA, Severin FF, Skulachev MV, Fasel N, Hildebrandt TB, Skulachev VP. (2020). Mild depolarization of the inner mitochondrial membrane is a crucial component of an anti-aging program. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 117(12), 6491-6501. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1916414117. Epub 2020 Mar 9. PMID: 32152094. doi:10.1073/pnas.1916414117

Menzies BR, Hildebrandt TB, Renfree MB (2020). "Unique reproductive strategy in the swamp wallaby." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 117: 5938-5942.

Luther I, Maree L, Kotze A, Hildebrandt T, Göritz F, Hermes R, van der Horst G (2020): Sperm motility, kinematics, morphometry and morphology over two seasons in free-ranging African elephants (Loxodonta africana). Reproduction, Fertility and Development, 32: 425-438. doi: 10.1071/RD19182.

Braude S, Holtze S, Hildebrandt T, Koch R. (2020). Naked mole‐rats do not disperse or deliver pups in correlation with moon phase. African Journal of Ecology.

Eldarov CM, Vangely IM, Vays VB, Sheval EV, Holtze S, Hildebrandt TB, Kolosova NG, Popkov VA, Plotnikov EY, Zorov DB, Bakeeva LE, Skulachev VP. (2020). Mitochondria in the Nuclei of Rat Myocardial Cells. Cells, 9(3), 712. doi: 10.3390/cells9030712. PMID: 32183238

Hildebrandt TB, Hermes R, Colleoni S, Diecke S, Holtze S, Renfree MB, Stejskal J, Hayashi K, Drukker M, Loi P, Göritz F, Lazzari G, Galli C (2018):  Embryos and embryonic stem cells from the white rhinoceros. NAT COMMUN 9(1), 2589. doi:10.1038/s41467-018-04959-2.

Drews B, Ringleb J, Waurich R, Hildebrandt TB, Schröder K, Roellig K (2013): Free blastocyst and implantation stages in the European brown hare: correlation of ultrasound and histological data. REPROD FERTIL DEV doi:10.1071/RD12062

Drews B, Roellig K, Menzies B, Shaw G, Buentjen I, Herbert C, Hildebrandt TB, Renfree MB (2013): Ultrasonography of wallaby prenatal development shows that the climb to the pouch begins in utero. Scientific Reports 3:1458 doi: 10.1038/srep01458.

Galateanu G, Apelt D, Aizenberg I, Saragusty J, Hildebrandt TB (2013): Canine tarsal architecture as revealed by high-resolution computed tomography. VET J doi:10.1016/j.tvjl.2012.10.027.

Galateanu G, Hildebrandt TB, Maillot A, Etienne P, Potier R, Mulot B, Saragusty J, Hermes R (2013): One small step for rhinos, one giant leap for wildlife management- imaging diagnosis of bone pathology in distal limb. PLoS ONE.

Hermes R, Saragusty J, Göritz F, Bartels P, Potier R, Baker B, Streich JW, Hildebrandt TB (2013): Freezing African elephant semen as a new population management tool. PLoS ONE 8(3): e57616. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0057616PloS ONE.

Mossa F, Carter F, Walsh SW, Kenny DA, Smith GW, Ireland JLH, Hildebrandt TB, Lonergan P, Ireland JJ, Evans ACO (2013) Maternal undernutrition in cows impairs ovarian and cardiovascular systems in their offspring. Biol Reprod 88: 92, 1-9.

Hildebrandt TB, Hermes R, Saragusty J, Potier R, Schwammer H, Balfanz F, Vielgrader H, Baker B,  Bartels P, Göritz F (2012): Enriching the captive elephant population genetic pool through artificial insemination with frozen-thawed semen collected in the wild. Theriogenology 78: 1398-1404.

Lueders I, Niemuller C, Rich P, Gray C, Hermes R, Goeritz F, Hildebrandt TB (2012): Gestating for 22 months: luteal development and pregnancy maintenance in elephants. Proc R Soc B 279: 3687-3696.

Saragusty J, Hermes R, Hofer H, Bouts T, G ö ritz F, Hildebrandt TB (2012): Male pygmy hippopotamus influence offspring sex ratio. Nature Communication published 2012 DOI: 10.1038/ncomms1700

Hutchinson JR, Delmer C, Miller CE, Hildebrandt TB, Pitsillides AA, Boyde A (2011): From Flat Foot to Fat Foot: Structure, ontogeny, function, and evolution of Elephant “sixth toes”. Science 334: 1699-1703.

Roellig K, Goeritz F, Fickel J, Hermes R, Hofer H, Hildebrandt TB (2010): Superconception in mammalian pregnancy can be detected and increases reproductive output per breeding season. Nature Communication 1-7, published 21.09.2010, doi:10.1038/ncomms1079

Hildebrandt TB, Drews B, Kurz J, Hermes R, Yang S, Goeritz F (2009): Pregnancy monitoring in dogs and cats using 3D and 4D ultrasonography. Reprod Domest Anim, 44 (Suppl 2): 125-128.

Hildebrandt TB, Drews B, Gaeth AP, Göritz F, Hermes R, Schmitt D, Gray C, Rich P, Streich WJ, Short RV, Renfree MB (2007): Fetal age determination and development in elephants. Proc R Soc B 274: 323-331.

Hildebrandt TB, Hermes R, Walzer C, Sos E, Molnar V, Mezösi L, Schnorrenberg A, Silinski S, Streich WJ, Schwarzenberger F Göritz F (2007): Artificial insemination in anoestrous and the postpartum white rhinoceros using GnRH analogue to induce ovulation. Theriogenology 67: 1473-1484.

Hildebrandt TB, Hermes R, Jewgenow K, Göritz F (2000): Ultrasonography as an important tool for the development and application of reproductive technologies in non-domestic species. Theriogenology 53: 73-84.

Richman LK, Montali RJ, Garber RL, Kennedy MA, Lehnhardt J, Hildebrandt TB, Schmitt DL, Hardy D, Alcendor DJ, Hayward GS (1999): Novel endotheliotropic herpesviruses fatal for Asian and African elephants. Science 283: 1171-1176.