About us

The Structure of the CiiM

The CiiM is a joint scientific institution (§ 36 NHG) formed by the founding partners HZI and MHH and was established in 2015 with the signing of a Letter of Intent. The basic principles of the collaboration in CiiM are governed by a cooperation agreement between the HZI and the MHH.

Michael P. Manns, at that time Director of the Department of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Endocrinology at MHH and Clinical Director of the HZI, established the primarily virtual network as CiiM Founding Director in collaboration with CiiM Coordinator Jennifer Debarry. In this first stage of establishment, the underlying concept of CiiM was specified and optimally adapted to local requirements and conditions in order to enable the hoped-for innovation at CiiM. 

In the second stage of establishing CiiM, which is currently underway, the advised systematic workflow will be built up with the help of the already established CiiM Groups and will eventually be located in the new research building being constructed in Hannover. The focus will be on concrete projects, which will be used as examples to highlight and establish the various aspects. This implementation phase is accompanied by the two CiiM Directors Yang Li and Markus Cornberg together with the CiiM Coordinator since 2019.

Strategic decisions are analysed and evaluated with the Scientific Advisory Board and specific CiiM Boards, and decisions are made in the CiiM Directorate based on those recommendations. 

CiiM Directors

CiiM Directors

The two CiiM Directors Yang Li and Markus Cornberg are responsible for the establishment of CiiM and represent CiiM in scientific matters. The focus is on answering clinically relevant questions in the field of infectious medicine with the aim of tailoring treatment to the individual patient. The increased linkage of the clinic with research and data science required for this is ensured ideally in CiiM via the two directors.


Yang Li

Yang Li has headed the Department of Bioinformatics in Individualised Infection Medicine at CiiM and HZI since 2019 and has also been appointed Director of CiiM.

Yang Li received her PhD in bioinformatics from the University of Groningen, the Netherlands, in 2010. She continued her career as a postdoctoral fellow at the Groningen Bioinformatics Center and received the Young Investigator Award of Bioinformatics from the Netherlands Bioinformatics Center in 2011. She then became Principal Investigator / Assistant Professor at the Department of Genetics, University Hospital Groningen. Her successful research in the field of systems genetics of immunological diseases was awarded two personal grants: the VENI (Dutch Organisation for Scientific Research, 2013) and the Off-Road (Netherlands Organisation for Health Research and Development, 2016). In 2018, Yang Li continued to receive the prestigious "Hypatia Grant" from Radboud University Medical Center. Since 2019, Yang Li has been leading the Department of Bioinformatics of Individualised Medicine at CiiM / HZI.

Markus Cornberg

Markus Cornberg is a university professor of infectious diseases with a focus on hepatology and senior consultant at the Department of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Endocrinology at the Medical School. His clinical focus is the treatment of patients with infectious liver disease. In 2019, he was also appointed clinical director of the HZI and director of the CiiM.

Markus Cornberg has been involved as a responsible physician in numerous clinical trials investigating new drugs for the treatment of viral infections of the liver. He was the first scientific secretary of the Competence Network Hepatitis (HepNet) in 2002. In February 2005 he took over the management of HepNet and since 2007 the medical management of the German Liver Foundation. Since 2007, he has been involved in the preparation and revision of the German guidelines on viral hepatitis B, C and D. Since 2007, Markus Cornberg has coordinated the preparation of the S3 guideline on the management of hepatitis B virus infection. In 2012, he was the German representative for the preparation of the European Hepatitis B Guideline. Since 2017, Markus Cornberg has been a member of the Governing Board of the European Association for the Study of the Liver (EASL). His basic science research focuses on the importance of cellular immune responses for disease progression and treatment response in patients with viral hepatitis. Markus Cornberg has published more than 150 original scientific papers as well as review and book chapters.

The Founding Director: Michael Manns

Michael Manns has actively followed the emergence of CiiM since the initial idea in 2013. In 2015, he assumed the role of founding director. In this role, he led the activities of the currently virtual CiiM and drove the establishment of CiiM and the construction of the designated CiiM building. As of January 2019, Prof. Manns handed over his position to Markus Cornberg as he took office as President of MHH.

CiiM Coordination

All ongoing CiiM activities from building construction to strategy development to research management converge in the CiiM Coordination Office. The team supports the CiiM directors and the scientific steering committees in the further development and implementation of the strategy and coordinates the creation and implementation of scientific strategic concepts and proposals.

CiiM Coordination
Dr. Jennifer Debarry, coordinator of the CiiM.
Jennifer Debarry

Jennifer Debarry has been coordinating the joint activities of the HZI and the MHH in the field of individualised infection medicine and the establishment and development of CiiM since 2015.

Previously, she was responsible for various international projects in vaccine development and CRISPR/Cas research as a scientific project manager. For science management, Jennifer Debarry benefits not only from her scientific training in the field of cell biology and immunology (degree in biology at Leibniz Universität Hannover, diploma thesis at the Fraunhofer Institute for Toxicology and Experimental Medicine, doctorate in cell biology at the Borstel Research Centre and Christian-Albrechts-Universität Kiel) but also from management training with corresponding professional experience (several months of business internship) in the USA.


Dr Jennifer Debarry
Dr Jennifer Debarry
Head of Office - CiiM
Prof Dr Markus Cornberg
Prof Dr Markus Cornberg
CiiM Director - CiiM
Immunology of Viral Hepatitis and Infections in Liver Cirrhosis