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Funding for Würzburg Biophysicist


Junior Professor Anna Lippert from the Institute of Systems Immunology at the University of Würzburg is receiving EUR 10,000 from the Vogel Foundation Dr Eckernkamp to support her research.

Check handover (from left): Erhard Frank (Vogel Stiftung), Prof. Dr. Anna Lippert (Würzburg University), Franziska Heinlein (Vogel Communications Group GmbH & Co. KG), catharina kipping and Dr. Gunther Schunk (both Vogel Stiftung). (Image: Max-Planck-Forschungsgruppe für Systemimmunologie / Anika Grafen)

Anna Lippert came to Würzburg in May 2023 from Cambridge to research the immune system as a junior professor in translational medicine at the University of Würzburg (JMU). "I'm interested in how immune cells perceive their mechanical environment," explains the scientist, "and how they react to mechanical changes that can occur in inflammation, but also in autoimmune diseases and cancer." She is currently setting up her own research group for this purpose.

Boost for research on immune cells

She has now received a grant of EUR 10,000 for her work from the Vogel Foundation Dr Eckernkamp in Würzburg. Anna Lippert intends to use the grant to equip a gel production and characterisation platform in the laboratory: Here, special gels are produced that can mimic the various mechanisms in healthy and diseased tissue. This technique is also applicable for single-molecule microscopy.

“With these gels, we can measure the force exerted by cells as well as track individual proteins - observing how they behave when in contact with different tissue rigidities," says Lippert. This way, she hopes to understand fundamental signalling cascades in the immune system. “I am very pleased to receive such support here in Würzburg, especially during the initial phase of my research.”

"We are delighted to be able to support this important basic research at the interface between biology and medicine through our funding," said Dr Gunther Schunk, foundation board member, at the symbolic handover of the check at the Institute of Systems Immunology. "All the more so because these insights could potentially be used in the long term for the treatment of autoimmune diseases and cancer."

Max Planck Research Group for Systems Immunology

The Max Planck Research Group for Systems Immunology is a joint initiative of University of Würzburg (JMU) and the Max Planck Society (MPG). Its aim is to promote excellent immunological research. Around 50 international researchers from 24 countries want to understand the basics of a successful immune response against infectious agents, chronic inflammatory diseases and tumours in order to develop new concepts and strategies for vaccines and immunotherapies.

They are investigating the development and function of the immune system holistically on several levels: from high-resolution analyses of individual molecules and cells to complex cellular networks within organs and systemic interactions in the body and with the environment. These research goals fit into the environment of internationally visible research on infectious diseases and immunotherapies at the Würzburg Life Science Campus.


Prof Dr Anna Lippert, Junior Professor of Translational Medicine,

By Christina Bornschein