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The Center for Alcohol Research (CAR)

The Center for Alcohol Research (CAR) is located both at the Department of Medicine at Salem Medical Center and the Otto-Meyerhof-Center at the University of Heidelberg. Major goals are to better understand disease-mechanisms of chronic alcohol consumption, namely alcoholic liver disease and cancer. Major funding comes from the DFG, the NIH, and private foundations such as the Dietmar Hopp foundation. The CAR team consists of physicians, scientists, technicians, and study nurses. CAR is headed by Sebastian Mueller (director) who is the current president of the European Society for Biomedical on Alcoholism (ESBRA).


Prof. Sebastian Mueller, M.D., Ph.D.

Präsident der European Society for Biomedical on Alcoholism (ESBRA)

Portrait von Sandra Schramm
Sandra Schramm

Study coordinator

Dipl. Phys. Johannes Mueller


Long term aims are:

  • to better understand underlying molecular mechanisms of liver diseases and alcohol-related diseases
  • to improve diagnosis and therapy of liver diseases 

Actual translational research topics focus on

  • liver diseases, namely alcoholic liver disease
  • alcohol-related cancer (hepatocellular and colorectal cancer)
  • non-invasive diagnosis of liver fibrosis, fatty liver and steatohepatitis
  • iron overload disorders
  • liver stiffness 

Actual basic research topics are related to

  • molecular mechanisms of oxidative stress, hypoxia and redox-regulation
  • detection of reactive oxygen species
  • inflammation and iron homeastasis 
  • mechanisms of alcohol-mediated cancerogenesis
  • biomechanics and extracellular matrix (fibrosis and cirrhosis)

Ongoing clinical studies include:

  1. Non-invasive diagnosis of liver cirrhosis
  2. Non-invasive diagnosis of liver iron overload by susceptometry
  3. Non-invasive diagnosis of liver steatosis by CAP
  4. alcohol and cancer (breast, colon cancer etc.)
  5. Genetic factors of alcoholic liver cirrhosis (international GWAS consortium and European SALVE consortium on alcoholic liver disease)

Publications from CAR

Original papers and reviews: see PUBS

Recent books:  

History of CAR

CAR was founded as “Center for Alcohol Research, Liver diseases and Nutrition” by Prof. Helmut Seitz at Salem Medical Center on December 13th 2000. It opened its basic research facilities at the University of Heidelberg in 2007 after recruiting Prof. Sebastian Mueller as Co-Director. Since then, one of the world’s largest and still growing databases on patients suffering from alcoholic liver disease has been built. Results from this translational strategy have improved the diagnosis of liver diseases for the general population.