The Team

President of the German Sport University Cologne

Born in 1965, Heiko Strüder studied Sport and English in Cologne, as well as Exercise Physiology in the USA. He completed his Ph.D. in exercise science. His postdoctoral thesis was in exercise science, with special focus on performance physiology and endocrinology, at the German Sport University in 2001. He received a professorship in Sports Medicine/Sports Biology at the Technical University Chemnitz in 2001. Since 2002 he has been head of todays Institute of Movement and Neurosciences at the German Sport University Cologne. He served as Vice-president of Research and the deputy permanent representative for the President at GSU from 2006 to 2014.  

Personal assistant to the president


Provost of the German Sport University Cologne

Marion Steffen (born 1976) studied law and political science in Münster and Montreal and completed the MBA Science Management in Osnabrück. At the University of Bielefeld, she was involved in the implementation of the Bologna Process as legal advisor. At the University of Applied Sciences Aachen, she was responsible for the department of studies, teaching and research and worked as a representative of the provost for four years. From 2013 to 2020, Marion Steffen headed the administration of the Cologne University of Music and Dance (HfMT Cologne) as Provost and represented the art and music universities, among other things, in the working group on digitalisation of the university provosts in North Rhine-Westphalia. Since August 2020 she has been Provost of the German Sport University Cologne.


Vice-President of Studies, Teaching and Quality Management

Born in 1964, Jens Kleinert, a sport and exercise scientist and qualified medical doctor, holds the post of Vice-President for Study and Teaching. Following his postdoctoral studies, he earned his Habilitation in 2004 for the field of “Sport and exercise science with special consideration of sport psychology and health research”, Jens Kleinert first took on a professorship at the University of Würzburg. He returned to the German Sport University as Professor for Sport Psychology and Health Psychology in 2006, where he is currently head of the Department of Health & Social Psychology at the University’s Institute of Psychology. Besides his research activities, he is co-founder of the “MentalEmpowerment” initiative, as well as head of “MentalTalent”, incorporated into the sporting and psychological support provided for talented young athletes in the state of NRW.


Vice-President of Research, Scientific Staff and Young Academics

Hedda Lausberg has been head of the Department of Neurology, Psychosomatic Medicine and Psychiatry at the Institute of Movement Therapy and Movement-oriented Prevention and Rehabilitation at the German Sport University since 2009. Born in 1964, the medical doctor completed her specialist training in neurology, psychiatry and psychosomatic medicine and psychotherapy at the Charité Berlin, where she habilitated in neurology in 2004 and was W2 Professor of Psychosomatic Medicine at the University Hospital Jena until 2009.


Vice-President of Planning, Resources and Appointments

Christoph Breuer (born 1971) has been a university professor at the German Sport University Cologne since 2004 and is head of the Institute of Sport Economics and Sport Management. He is a member of the Finance and Administration Committee of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and a founding member of the European Sport Economics Association. From 2006 to 2011 he was also research professor at the German Institute of Economic Research (DIW Berlin). He studied sport and exercise science, economics and educational science at the Technical University in Darmstadt. He completed his Ph.D. in 1999 and his habilitation at the German Sport University in 2004.   


Vice-President of Knowledge- and Technology Transfer

Prof. Dr. Anja Niehoff (born 1972) is Academic Senior Councilor at the Institute of Biomechanics and Orthopaedics. She studied sports science (diploma) at the German Sport University Cologne and biology (teaching profession) at the University of Cologne. After completing her doctorate in 2003, she was awarded her habilitation at the German Sport University Cologne in 2012. Her research focuses on tissue biomechanics and mechanobiology, especially in connection with diseases and injuries of the musculoskeletal movement system.


Vice-President of Communication, Digitalisation and Diversity

Univ. Prof. Dr. Thomas Abel (born 1968) has been a member of staff at the Institute for Movement and Neurosciences at the German Sport University Cologne since 2003 and Professor of Paralympic Sports since 2014. The deputy head of the institute has his main research and teaching focus in the field of sports for people with disabilities, with particular interest in performance physiological aspects. He is a member of the Steering Board of the European Research Group in Disability Sport (ERGiDS), which was founded on his initiative in 2011. For the German Disabled Sports Association, he sits on the advisory board of the Medical Commission.