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Support for Young Scientists in Basic Biomedical Research

Chica and Heinz Schaller Foundation supports the work of five new C.H.S. research groups
Five new research groups for young scientists, the C.H.S. research groups, have taken up their work in basic biomedical research. To mark the occasion, the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) will hold a ceremony on 20 July 2012. The Chica and Heinz Schaller Foundation is funding the groups, who are dually affiliated with Heidelberg University’s CellNetworks Cluster of Excellence and the DKFZ.

Prof. Dr. Otmar D. Wiestler, Chairman of the Management Board of DKFZ, will kick off the event, followed by a welcome address from Prof. Dr. Hans-Georg Kräusslich, chairman of the scientific advisory board of the C.H.S Foundation, coordinator of the Cluster of Excellence, and Managing Director of the Department of Infectious Diseases at Heidelberg University Hospital. Group leaders Dr. Steeve Boulant, Dr. Valery Grinevich, Dr. Grant Hansman, Dr. Thomas Jahn and Dr. Björn Tews will then briefly introduce the C.H.S. research groups. Nobel laureate Prof. Dr. Harald zur Hausen will deliver the keynote address, speaking on the “long road to success”.

The C.H.S. research groups are supported by the Chica and Heinz Schaller Foundation for a period of five years. In addition to funding the position of group leader, the foundation also provides funds for one postdoctoral researcher, one doctoral candidate, and one technical assistant. Funds are also made available for equipment and materials.

The research groups were established between October 2011 and April 2012 at the Cluster of Excellence CellNetworks and the German Cancer Research Center. “Our aim is to strengthen basic biomedical research in Heidelberg, especially in the fields of infectious diseases and the neurosciences”, notes founder Prof. Dr. Chica Schaller. After an international call for proposals, five outstanding young researchers, who previously worked in Japan, the USA, Great Britain, and Switzerland, amongst others, were recruited to Heidelberg University and the DKFZ.

Dr. Boulant’s group is investigating the molecular mechanisms used by intestinal cells to defend against viral infections. Dr. Grinevich and his team are analysing neuropeptides of the vegetative nervous system that play a role in stress, fear and love. Noroviruses, causative agents of intestinal infections, are being explored by Dr. Hansman and his colleagues. This research group is studying virus structure to identify targets for antiviral medications. Dr. Jahn and his group are researching protein malfunctions that trigger neurodegenerative diseases. This work could lead to new approaches for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. Dr. Tews and his team are focused on understanding the cellular signalling pathways underlying the invasive nature of aggressive brain tumour cells.
The C.H.S. Foundation was established in 2000 by the scientists Chica and Heinz Schaller. The foundation promotes basic biomedical research in Heidelberg through the support of innovative research projects. The flexible funding is intended in particular to support young investigators in conducting independent projects. Among the foundation’s other funding instruments are a research award endowed with 100,000 euros of research funding, awarded annually since 2005, as well as fellowships for group leaders on the verge of professorship.

Note to news desks:
The ceremony to mark the establishment of the C.H.S. research groups will be held on Friday, 20 July 2012, in the DKFZ Communications Center, conference rooms I and II, and begins at 11 am. Members of the media are cordially invited.

Heidelberg University
Communications and Marketing
Press Office, phone: +49 6221 54-2311

Marietta Fuhrmann-Koch | idw
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