Therese von Bayern Awards for outstanding female researchers at LMU

16 Jul 2021

The Princess Therese von Bayern Foundation honors distinguished female researchers in the Faculties of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine at LMU.

This year, the Princess Therese von Bayern Foundation, whose primary aim is to highlight the achievements of female academics at LMU, has awarded Princess Therese von Bayern Prizes to seven researchers in the Faculties of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine. All of them have made noteworthy contributions to their respective fields, thus setting an inspiring example for younger women who are pursuing academic careers. The Foundation is named after Princess Therese von Bayern (1850-1925), an anthropologist and zoologist who carried out field research in both Europe and America. She was an active supporter of higher education for women – and the first woman to receive an honorary doctorate from LMU.

Portraits of the Awardees 2021:

  • Prof. Dr. Nathalie Albert was appointed to a Professorship in Nuclear Medicine with a Focus on Neuro-Oncology at LMU in March 2021.

During her medical studies in Cologne, which were supported by a fellowship from the Cusanuswerk in Bonn, Nathalie Albert worked in hospitals in Australia, Indonesia, Mexico and elsewhere. Upon completion of her doctoral thesis and her specialist training in gynecology and obstetrics in Leverkusen, she moved to LMU in 2010 to set up an independent research group in neuro-oncological nuclear medicine. Following her promotion to the rank of consultant physician, completion of her Habilitation and subsequent receipt of a research fellowship, she was appointed to a Professorship in Nuclear Medicine with a Focus on Neuro-Oncology in the Hospital for Nuclear Medicine in the LMU Medical Center in 2021.

Professor Albert’s research focuses on the imaging of primary and secondary brain tumors by means of positron emission tomography (PET). This diagnostic procedure makes use of radioactively labeled amino acids and tumor-specific PET tracers, which enable tumors to be visualized in vivo based on their characteristic molecular markers. The method provides a clearer picture of the tumor's size and level of cellular heterogeneity, which improves the quality of prognoses for patients with brain tumors. Thanks to her expertise and her participation in specialist committees, Prof. Albert has played a significant role in the formulation of national and international guidelines on the application of PET-based imaging to patients with brain tumors. Her publications have received several research prizes.

She is also actively involved in the training and advancement of women in the medical sciences, and is Equal Opportunities Officer for the DFG-funded Research Group FOR-2858.

  • Dr. Sabine Hoffmann is a staff scientist in the Institute of Medical Information Processing, Biometry and Epidemiology (IBE) at LMU.

Sabine Hoffmann obtained primary degrees in both Psychology and Statistics at LMU, and undertook postgraduate studies in Statistics in Rennes (France), while doing a Master’s degree in Epidemiology. In 2017 she earned her PhD at the Université Paris-Sud with a dissertation on “Approaches to the Modeling of Measurement Errors in Studies on Uranium Miners”, which analyzed the links between exposure to radon and the incidence of fatal lung cancer.

Dr. Hoffmann took up her present position at LMU in 2018. She obtained two competitive research grants that enabled her to form her own group in 2019. In her research, she develops novel statistical methods to quantify the impact of measurement errors and other sources of uncertainty – particularly in the analysis of routine data. This focus reflects her interest in methodology in research, and her contributions to the application of statistical methods in collaborative projects with medical professionals. She is also involved in multidisciplinary projects designed to enhance the replicability of research studies, including some with colleagues at LMU’s Open Science Center.

  • Prof. Dr. Inga Katharina Koerte is Professor of Neurobiological Research in the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the LMU Medical Center and a Lecturer in Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.

Her research is dedicated to obtaining new insights into the physiological effects of traumatic brain injuries, with the ultimate aim of preventing lasting damage. To this end, she seeks to identify biomarkers that make early diagnosis possible, and enable specific therapies to be developed.

Prof. Koerte studied Medicine in Freiburg and Munich, was a Munich-Harvard Alliance Fellow, and obtained her doctoral degree with a thesis on experimental surgery at LMU in 2006, qualifying as a specialist in Pediatrics and Radiology. Until 2014, she was a postdoc in Brigham and Women’s Hospital at Harvard Medical School, and a Fellow of the Robert Bosch Foundation’s Fast-Track Program. In 2013 she completed her Habilitation in experimental radiology at LMU.

Together with her research group, Prof. Koerte discovered alterations in the microstructure of the brain brain – as well as indicators of accelerated aging – in American footballers and soccer players. She went on to identify risk factors and biomarkers for the neurodegenerative disease chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), which is often seen in professional players of American football. With the aid of an ERC Starting Grant, she is now studying the role of neuroactive hormones in the repair processes triggered by brain trauma in children, adolescents and adults, and exploring whether these messenger molecules might have therapeutic applications.

In 2020, she was elected Vice-Praesident of the European Neurotrauma Organization.

  • Dr. Felicitas Mayinger is an academic staff member at the Clinic for Dental Prosthetics in the Faculty of Medicine at LMU, and is currently preparing her Habilitation thesis.

Dr. Mayinger‘s research focuses on developing novel materials that match the natural color of the teeth for use in restorative dentistry. As a Max Weber Fellow, she was an active participant in a number of university and faculty committees during her studies at LMU. Following a spell as a staff member in the Outpatient Department for Dental Prosthetics at the LMU Medical Center, she obtained her doctorate in 2019 in the Hospital for Neurosurgery, which is affiliated with the Technical University of Munich. In 2020 Dr. Mayinger was appointed as a mentor of female postdocs in the Bavarian Program for the Promotion of Gender Equality. She is now preparing her Habilitation thesis on Innovations in the Fabrication, Processing and Anchorage of Esthetic Tooth-Colored Restoration Materials.

Her research findings have not only appeared in German and international journals, they also contribute to the enhancement of prosthetic services for patients. Dr. Mayinger characterized the optical and mechanical properties of various ceramic and polymer-based materials in vitro, with a view to enhancing the stability of dentures in clinical applications. Her contributions to innovations, such as the high-speed sintering of zirconium dioxide and additive approaches to the fabrication of polymeric dental restorations, have resulted in savings in time, materials and costs.

She is an active member of several scientific working groups, and is Chairperson of the Association of Dental Alumni at LMU.

  • Dr. Marie Margarete Meyerholz is a staff member in the Department of Reproductive Physiology and Pathology at the Clinic for Ruminants in the Center for Clinical Veterinary Medicine (Faculty of Veterinary Medicine) and is preparing her Habilitation thesis.

Dr. Meyerholz studied in Tübingen and Hannover, and worked in Austria, Spain and Costa Rica in the course of her student career. In 2014, she obtained her doctoral degree at the University of Veterinary Medicine in Hannover (TiHo) with a thesis on The Influence of Early Pregnancy on Metabolic Adaptation in Heifers. She then worked as a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Immunology, and as an assistant veterinarian in the Ruminants' Clinic at the TiHo. Her work on the transdisciplinary research project Chron Mast focused on the question of whether it is possible to genetically select for disease resistance. She moved to LMU in 2016 as an academic staff member in the Clinic for Ruminants.

Dr. Meyerholz is now working on her Habilitation in Reproductive Medicine. Her research utilizes an endometrial explant model, in which in-vitro stimulation of the tissues with defined biological samples can be used to investigate aspects of the communication between mother and embryo in the uterus during the early stages of pregnancy. Her goal is to elucidate pathological mechanisms by stimulating the explant with infection-associated inhibitory agents that reduce fertility in cattle.

She is also actively involved in various scientific associations, initiated the Junior Staff Group for the Promotion of Gender Equality (Nachwuchsgruppe Gleichstellungsarbeit) in the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine at LMU and is a founding member of the Association of Staff Veterinarians (Bund angestellter Tierärzte e.V. (BaT), the principal aim of which is to campaign for a better balance between family and professional obligations.

  • Prof. Dr. Heidrun Potschka holds the Chair of Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmacy in the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine at LMU.

Heidrun Potschka studied Veterinary Medicine in Gießen, and subsequently carried out postdoctoral research at the University of Veterinary Medicine in Hannover (TiHo), where she also completed her Habilitation and was appointed to a Junior Professor. She took up her present position as Professor in the Department of Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmacy at LMU in 2006. Among other honors, she has received the Förderpreis der Akademie für Tiergesundheit and the Michael Foundation’s International Prize.

In the course of her academic career, Professor Potschka has served on a number of scientifically and socially significant committees. She was elected to the Leopoldina in 2014 and became a member of the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture’s Animal Welfare Commission in 2020. Her major scientific interests lie in the pharmacology and pathophysiology of epilepsies. Her focus on translational research has resulted in contributions to the development of new drugs that have been approved for use in both human and veterinary medicine.

  • Prof. Dr. Karin Schwaiger is Professor of Hygiene and Food Technology in the Institute of Food Safety, Food Technology and Public Health at the University of Veterinary Medicine in Vienna.

Among her research interests are bovine tuberculosis and antibiotic resistance in bacteria. Trained as an administrative assistant, she went on to qualify for university, and studied Veterinary Medicine at LMU. Her doctoral dissertation received the “Science Prize for Outstanding Research Contributions to the Conservation of Animals in the Wild”. Following Habilitation in 2013, she worked as a Privatdozentin in the Institute for Food Safety in the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine at LMU. In 2020, she was appointed to an Extraordinary Professorship at LMU and became a University Professor at the University of Veterinary Medicine in Vienna.

As a specialist in both microbiology and meat hygiene, she is equally committed to the improvement of animal health and welfare, the protection of animals, and food safety. The University of Veterinary Medicine in Vienna has dedicated the year 2021 to the fight against hunger worldwide, and the Institute for Food Safety, Food Technology and Public Health, together with the Hospitals for Farm Animals, will play a special role in the associated events.

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