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Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Sonja Entringer

University professor, Principal investigator

Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin
Charitéplatz 1
10117 Berlin

Campus / internal address:
Luisenstraße 57

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My main research interest is in the area of „Developmental Origins of Health and Disease risk“. The basic premise of this concept is that developmental conditions during early life can shape the physiology of the growing organism in a way that permanently alters the risk of disease later in life. Factors I study in this context range from individual factors such as maternal psychological stress and nutritional during pregnancy to societal determinants such as migration and social inequality. I am particularly interested in the biological mechanisms by which these experiences can be transmitted and permanently biologically embedded during fetal and child development. In our interdisciplinary research projects, which include aspects of gynecology, obstetrics, neonatology, pediatrics, psychiatry, sociology, biology and psychology, we employ molecular biology and ecological momentary assessment (EMA) based methods. Our research has a high relevance for prevention and the development of new, innovative prevention and intervention strategies that start in the early developmental period, before disease manifestation occurs, thus helping to reduce the burden of disease on individuals and society and costs to our health care system.

Additional information

Interview with Prof. Dr. Sonja Entringer: Supporting emotional wellbeing of mums boosts health of newborns


Grants and Research Awards:

Principal Investigator

  • Prenatal Stress and Programming of Newborn and Infant Telomere Biology and Cellular Aging
  • European Research Commission (ERC) Starting Grant, 678073 
    10/2016 - 09/2023
  • Understanding, Predicting and Treating Depression in Pregnancy to Improve Mothers and Offspring Mental Health (Coordinator: Annamaria Cattaneo)
    EU HORIZON 101057390,
    PI of Subproject (together with Claudia Buss)
  • Understanding and Mitigating the Impact of Early-Life Stress on Disease Risk: Towards Developmental Programming of Lifelong Health (Kids2Health) (Christine Heim PI of center grant)
    German Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF)
    10/01/2017-11/30/2023 (including a no-cost extension)
    • ​PI of two subprojects:
      Refugee Children in Berlin: War and Migration-related Trauma, Biological Embedding, and Potential Reversibility
      € 353,400 (direct costs)
      Methods Core Psychobiology
      € 676,400 (direct costs)

  • Early-life Stress and Risk for Allergic Diseases (Co-PI Status with Christine Heim)
    German Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF)
    € 392.797 (direct costs)
  • Intergenerational transmission of health disparities among Turkish-origin residents in Germany: role of maternal stress and stress biology during pregnancy
    German Research Foundation (DFG), EN 851/2-1 
    05/2015 – 04/2018
  • Biological Embedding of Social Disadvantage in Human Stem Cells: Implications for Health Disparities (Pathik Wadhwa, Kristen Boyle, MPIs)
    NIH/National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities
    R01 MD017387-01A1
    09/2022 – 06/2027
  • Stress and Human Stem/Progenitor Cells: Biobehavioral Mechanisms (Pathik Wadhwa, Kristen Boyle, MPIs)
    NIH/National Institute for Child Health and Development (NICHD)
    R01 HD107176-01A1
    07/01/2022 - 06/30/2027
  • Maternal Acculturation during Pregnancy and Newborn and Infant Adiposity in Mexican-Americans (Pathik Wadhwa, Co-PI)
    NIH/National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities
    R01 MD-010738
    07/2016 – 02/2023
  • Social Disadvantage and Fetal Programming of Newborn-Infant Telomere Biology (Pathik Wadhwa, Hyagriv Simhan, Elissa Epel MPIs)
    NIH/National Institute of Aging
    R01 AG-050455


  • Pre- and Postnatal Exposure Periods for Child Health: Common Risks and Shared Mechanisms (Multiple PIs: Tom O’Connor, Pathik Wadhwa, Claudia Buss, Richard Miller and Hyagriv Simhan)
    NIH – Environmental influences on child health outcomes (ECHO)
    UH3 OD-O23349


Honors and Awards:

  • 2017: Elected Member, Academy of Behavioral Medicine Research (ABMR)
  • 2015: Curt Richter Award of the International Society for Psychoneuroendocrinology (ISPNE) (“in recognition of distinguished early to mid career scientific contributions at the interface of health-related biological and psychological processes”)


Selected publications:

  • Czamara D, Dieckmann L, Röh S, Kraemer S, Rancourt RC, Sammallahti S, Kajantie E, Laivuori H, Eriksson JG, Räikkönen K, Henrich W, Plagemann A, Binder EB, Braun T, Entringer S. Betamethasone administration during pregnancy is associated with placental epigenetic changes with implications for inflammation. Clin Epigenetics. 2021 Aug 26;13(1):165. doi: 10.1186/s13148-021-01153-y. PMID: 34446099
  • Pontzer H, …, Entringer S, …, Speakman JR; IAEA DLW Database Consortium. Daily energy expenditure through the human life course. Science. 2021 Aug 13;373(6556):808-812. doi: 10.1126/science.abe5017. PMID: 34385400
  • Spallek J, Scholaske L, Duman EA, Razum O, Entringer S. Association of maternal migrant background with inflammation during pregnancy - Results of a birth cohort study in Germany. Brain Behav Immun. 2021 Aug;96:271-278. doi: 10.1016/j.bbi.2021.06.010. Epub 2021 Jun 17.PMID: 34146669
  • Verner G, Epel E, Lahti-Pulkkinen M, Kajantie E, Buss C, Lin J, Blackburn E, Räikkönen K, Wadhwa PD, Entringer S. Maternal psychological resilience during pregnancy and newborn telomere length: a prospective study. The American Journal of Psychiatry. 2021 Feb 1;178(2):183-192. doi: 10.1176/appi.ajp.2020.19101003. Epub 2020 Sep 11.PMID: 32911996
  • Entringer S, Epel ES. The stress field ages: A close look into cellular aging processes. Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2020 Mar;113:104537. doi: 10. 1016/j.psyneuen.2019.104537. Epub 2019 Dec 3. PMID: 32085926
  • Lazarides C, Epel ES, Lin J, Blackburn EH, Voelkle MC, Buss C, Simhan HN, Wadhwa PD, Entringer S. Maternal pro-inflammatory state during pregnancy and newborn leukocyte telomere length: A prospective investigation. Brain Behavior & Immunity. 2019 Apr 8. pii: S0889-1591(19)30096-0. doi: 10.1016/j.bbi.2019.04.021.
  • de Punder K, Heim C, Przesdzing I, Wadhwa PD, Entringer S. Characterization in humans of in vitro leukocyte maximal telomerase activity capacity (mTAC) and association with stress. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. 2018 Mar 5;373(1741). pii: 20160441.
  • Entringer S, Buss C, Rasmussen JM, Lindsay K, Gillen DL, Cooper DM, Wadhwa PD. Maternal cortisol during pregnancy and infant adiposity: a prospective investigation. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism. 2017 Apr 1;102(4):1366-1374.
  • Entringer S, Buss C, Wadhwa PD. Prenatal stress, telomere biology, and fetal programming of health and disease risk. Science Signaling, 2012, 5(248):pt12.
  • Entringer S, Epel ES, Kumsta R, Lin J, Hellhammer DH, Blackburn EF, Wüst S, Wadhwa PD. Stress exposure in intrauterine life is associated with shorter telomere length in young adulthood. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, 2011, 108(33):E513-8.

Complete list of publications


External location:

Department of Pediatrics, Development, Health and Disease Research Program
University of California, Irvine, School of Medicine
3117 Gillespie Neuroscience Research Facility,
Irvine, CA 92697, USA
Tel: +1 714 456 8401

Functions / offices

  • Universitätsprofessorin, Institut für Medizinische Psychologie, Charité Berlin
  • Stellvertretende Institutsdirektorin, Institut für Medizinische Psychologie, Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin
  • Head, Research Group Psychobiological Methods, Institut für Medizinische Psychologie, Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin
  • Adjunct Professor, Department of Pediatrics, University of California, Irvine, USA
  • Principal Investigator, Deutsches Zentrum für Psychische Gesundheit, Berlin
  • Fakultätsmitglied, Einstein Center for Neurosciences, Berlin, Germany
  • International Scientific Advisory Board, Telomere Research Network (TRN)