Prof. Hanns-Christian Gunga

Center for Space Medicine Berlin

Charité Cross Over
Charitéplatz 1
10117 Berlin

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+49 (0)30 450 528 536

Prof. Hanns-Christian Gunga is the head of the work group space medicine and extreme environments  since 2003. He studied geology, palaeontology and human medicine at the Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität in Münster and Berlin. Finishing medical school, he wrote his doctoral thesis about the famous German physiologist Nathan Zuntz (1847-1920).

In 1997 he wrote his habilitation thesis about the regulation of erythropotein in humans in extreme environments.

As a student of Prof. Karl Kirsch at the Free University Berlin, Department of Physiology, he he first encountered the topic of  human adaption to extreme environments. Karl Kirsch initiated this research field in the late 70’s, as a student of Prof. Otto Gauer.

Prof. Gunga’s main interests are evolutionary physiologythermo-physiologygravitational physiologycardio-vascular physiologyhigh altitude and polar medicine as well as the history of sciences.

From 2004-2009 Prof. Gunga was the holder of the Nathan Zuntz Professorship.

Research Projects

Principal Investigator (selection)

  • DFG RESEARCH UNIT: Climate change and health in Sub-Saharan AfricaIndividual Project P4. Climate change, heat stress and their impact on health and work capacity.”, 2020-2022, DFG
  • Temperaturregulation und zirkadiane Rhythmik des Menschen unter simulierten und realen Mikro-g Bedingungen – SLEDRA III, 2020-2022, DLR
  • Core temperature and circadian rhythms (CELSS) 2016, DLR/ACC, Shenzhen-China
  • Core temperature and circadian rhythms (HERA), 2016, DLR/NASA
  • Core temperature and circadian rhythms in humans during long term spaceflights (Circadian Rhythms), 2013-2017, DLR/ESA
  • Mars500 2010-2011, Moscow-Russia
  • NASA Bed Rest Study 2008, Galveston, U.S.A.
  • Parabolic Flight Campaign 2008: Thermoregulation and Cardiovascular Adaptation
  • Parabolic Flight Campaign 2006: Thermoregulation
  • Parabolic Flight Campaign 2005: Thermoregulation
  • Berlin Bed Rest Study 2003/2004: Red blood cells
  • Neurolab 2000: Psycho-Physiology
  • MIR’97: Erythropoietin-Serum Transferrin Receptor
  • ESA-CNES L-TBR’94: Erythropoietin
  • EUROMIR’94: CVP-Erythropoietin

Co-Investigator (selection)

  • NSCOR for Evaluating Risk Factors and Biomarkers for Adaptation and Resilience to Spaceflight: Emotional Valence and Social Processes in ICC/ICE Environments. NASA/DLR (PI: D. Dinges)
  • Controlled Ecological Life Support Systems (CELSS). 2012, (Circadian Rhythms) ACC, Beijing-China
  • HUBES’94: AutonomicNervous System (PI: K. Kirsch)
  • EUROMIR’94: Tissue Thickness (PI: K. Kirsch)
  • ALTAIR: Tissue Thickness (PI: K. Kirsch)
  • D-2: Volume Regulating Hormones (PI: L. Röcker)
  • D-2: Tissue Thickness (PI: K. Kirsch)
  • MIR’92: Volume Regulating Hormones (PI: L. Röcker)
  • MIR’92: Tissue Thickness (PI: K. Kirsch)
  • EXEMSI’92: Autonomic Nervous System (PI: K. Kirsch)
  • ISEMSI’90: Autonomic Nervous System (PI: K. Kirsch)


Grants (selection)

  • DFG RESEARCH UNIT: Climate change and health in Sub-Saharan AnicaIndividual Project P4. Climate change, heat stress and their impact on health and work capacity.” 2020-2022, DFG-FOR 2936
  • Temperaturregulation und zirkadiane Rhythmik des Menschen unter simulierten und realen Mikro-g Bedingungen – SLEDRA III. 2020-2022, 50WB2030, DLR
  • Circadian Rhythms and temperature regulation of humans under simulated and real micro-g conditions, 2017-2019, DLR/ESA/NASA
  • Core temperature and circadian rhythms in humans during long term spaceflights (Circadian Rhythms), 2010-2016, DLR/ESA/NASA
  • Cardiovascular functions and thermoregulation under real and simulated micro-g conditions (FluidShift – ThermoLab), DLR/ESA/NASA

Board Membership

Membership (selection)

  • Member of Wissenschaftskommission beim Bundesministerium für Landesverteidigung (BMLV) (Austrian Ministry of Defense)
  • Member of the NATO expert council „Man in Extreme Environments”
  • Expert in the GoSpace-Team on Industrial Research under Microgravity in Life Science
  • Member of the Scientific Program Board of the German Aerospace Center (DLR)
  • Member of Medical Advisory Board of the Military Medical Service of the German Federal Ministry of Defense
  • Member of the International Academy of Astronautics
  • Member of the European Space Sciences Committee (ESSC) in the European Science Foundation
  • Member of the Advisory Board of the European Journal of Applied Physiology

Additional Activities

Additional Activities (selection)

  • Deputy Director of the Institute of Physiology at Charité – University Medicine Berlin
  • Chief Field Editor of Frontiers in Physiology (Environment, Aviation, and Space)
  • Editor in Chief of REACH
  • Guest Professor at Northwestern Polytechnical University, Xi’an, China
  • DAAD Guest Professor at University Antofagasta, Chile


Articles selection (Books and Monographs below)

Stahn AC, Riemer M, Wolbers T, Werner A, Brauns K, Besnard S, Denise P, Kühn S, Gunga HC. Spatial Updating Depends on Gravity. Front Neural Circuits. 2020 Jun 5;14:20.

Stahn AC, Maggioni MA, Gunga HC, Terblanche E. Combined protein and calcium β-hydroxy-β-methylbutyrate induced gains in leg fat free mass: a double-blinded, placebo-controlled study. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2020 Mar 12;17(1):16.

Clement G, Boyle RD, Gunga HC. Editorial: The Effects of Altered Gravity on Physiology. Front Physiol. 2019 Nov 27;

Stahn AC, Gunga HC, Kohlberg E, Gallinat J, Dinges DF, Kühn S: Brain Changes in Response to Long-Duration Antarctic Expeditions. N Engl J Med. 2019 Dec 5;381(23):2273-2275

Maggioni MA, Castiglioni P, Merati G, Brauns K, Gunga HC, Mendt S, Opatz O, Rundfeldt LC, Steinach M, Werner A, Stahn A, High-intensity exercise mitigates cardiovascular deconditioning during long-duration bed rest. Frontiers in Physiology Front Physiol. 2018 Nov 19

Opatz O, Nordine M, Habazettl H, Ganse B, Petricek J, Dosel P, Stahn A, Steinach M, Gunga HC, Maggioni MA. Limb Skin Temperature as a Tool to Predict Orthostatic Instability. Front Physiol. 2018 Sep 5;9:1241.

Masatli Z, Nordine M, Maggioni MA, Mendt S, Hilmer B, Brauns K, Werner A, Schwarz A, Habazettl H, Gunga HC, Opatz OS. Gender-Specific Cardiovascular Reactions to +Gz Interval Training on a Short Arm Human Centrifuge. Front Physiol. 2018 Jul 31

Rundfeldt LC and Maggioni MA, Coker RH, Gunga HC, Riveros-Rivera A, Schalt A, Steinach M. Cardiac Autonomic Modulations and Psychological Correlates in the Yukon Arctic Ultra: The Longest and the Coldest Ultramarathon. Front Physiol. 2018 Feb 12:9:35

Gambara G, Salanova M, Ciciliot S, Furlan S, Gutsmann M, Schiffl G, Ungethuem U, Volpe P, Gunga HC, Blottner D. Microgravity-induced transcriptome adaptation in mouse paraspinal longissimus dorsi muscle highlights insulin resistance-linked genes. Front Physiol. 2017 May 5; doi: 10.3389/fphys.2017.00279.

Clauss M, Nurutdinova I, Meloro C, Gunga HC, Jiang D, Koller J, Herkner B, Sander PM, Hellwich O. Reconstruction of body cavity volume in terrestrial tetrapods. J Anat. 2017 Feb; 230(2):325-36.

Gambara G, Salanova M, Ciciliot S, Furlan S, Gutsmann M, Schiffl G, Ungethuem U, Volpe P, Gunga HC, Blottner D. Gene expression profiling in slow-type calf soleus muscle of 30 days space-flown mice. PLoS One. 2017 Jan 11;12(1):e0169314.

Coker RH, Weaver AN, Coker MS, Murphy CJ, Gunga HC, Steinach M. Metabolic responses to the Yukon Arctic Ultra: Longest and coldest in the world. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2017 Feb;49(2):357-62.

Mendt S, Maggioni MA, Nordine M, Steinach M, Opatz O, Belavý D, Felsenberg D, Koch J, Shang P, Gunga HC, Stahn A. Circadian rhythms in bed rests: Monitoring core body temperature via heat-flux approach is superior to skin surface temperature. Chronobiol Int. 2017;34(5):666-76.

Persson PB, Wenger RH, Lundby C, Gunga HC. Did you know?: Neocytolysis, how to halt EPO? Acta Physiol (Oxf). 2016 Sep;218(1):5-6.

Books and Monographs (selection)

Gunga HC. Human physiology in extreme environments. American Academic Press, Elsevier 2019. 2. Edition

Gunga HC. Am Tag zu hell und nachts zu heiß. Rowohlt-Verlag, 2019.

Gunga HC. Human physiology in extreme environments (Translation into Chinese). Science Press, 2018.

Gunga HC, Weller von Ahlefeld V, Appell Coriolano HJ, Werner A, Hoffmann U. Cardiovascular System, Red Blood Cells, and Oxygen Transport in Microgravity, Springer, 2016.

Gunga HC: Human Physiology in Extreme Environments, Academic Press, 2015.

Gunga HC . Nathan Zuntz. His life and work in the fields of high altitude physiology and aviation medicine. American Physiological Society, Elsevier 2009.

Gunga HC , Steinach M, Kirsch K. Weltraummedizin und -biologie. In: Ley W, Wittmann K, Hallmann W (eds): Handbuch der Raumfahrttechnik. Hanser, München. 2007; Chapter 7.6: 575-588

Gunga HC, Steinach M, Kirsch KA, Werner A. Space Medicine and Biology. In: Ley W, Wittmann K, Hallmann W (eds): Handbook of Space Technology. Wiley, Chichester. 2009; Chapter 7.6: 606-621.

Gunga HC . Wärmehaushalt und Temperaturregulation. In: Deetjen P, Speckmann EJ (eds): Physiologie. Urban & Schwarzenberg, München-Wien-Baltimore. 2003; Chapter 13:669-698.

Gunga HC , Kirsch K, Schobersberger W, Roecker L. Adaptation to altitude and exercise. In: Jelkmann W (ed): Molecular biology and clinical use of erythropoietin. FP Graham Publishing Co, Mountain Home, USA. 2002; Chapter 4:219-244.