Else Kröner Memorial Fellowships

Leeway for Research: The foundation Else Kröner-Fresenius-Stiftung wants to support particularly talented and motivated physicians who are active in clinical and scientific fields at the beginning of their professional career.

An overview of the projects funded from the funding line “Else Kröner Memorial Fellowships” can be found here.

Significantly advancing an especially promising medical research project by releasing these physicians from clinical responsibilities for a period of two years: The above is intended to be used towards laying the cornerstone for scientific self-reliance and a career as clinician scientist.

Once again this year, the Else Kröner-Fresenius-Stiftung is dedicating one competitive call for applications to funding for young medical researchers.Else Kröner Memorial Fellowships are individual fellowships for young physicians in further education, who wish to implement a two-year project. The scholarship is endowed with a total of €250,000, of which up to 80% can be used to finance the company's own collectively agreed salary. Six fellowships are awarded nationwide throughout Germany. Interested physicians are asked to apply in person.

Please note that the Else Kröner Memorial Fellowships are issued on a periodical basis. You can find our latest calls for propsals under "Current Topics".

Submitting the Paper of the Month:
We invite all project managers, fellowship recipients and members of graduate study programs to submit their publications that have emerged from funding as Paper of the Month. You can find more information here. You can find an overview of the Paper of the Month here. 

Anne Asschenfeldt
Anne Asschenfeldt
Scientific Funding: Ongoing Project Funding and Fellowships


Progress Reportdocx / 32.66 KB

Else Kröner Memorial Fellowships 2023

Dr. Maximilian Y. Deng, Dept. of Radiation Oncology and Radiation Therapy, Heidelberg University Hospital

Project: Tumor monitoring and molecular risk stratification by means of liquid biopsy in the case of meningeoma patients prior to radiotherapy

The project aims to establish so-called exosomes, molecules circulating freely in the bloodstream, as potential biomarkers in the sense of a liquid biopsy for marking the response to therapy and toward the early detection of relapses.

Here you can find further information.

Dr. Jan Kempski, 1st Department of Medicine, University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf (UKE)

Project: Identification of immunological characteristics which influence the response to immunotherapies

In this project the scientists want to find immunological patterns that could help to identify patients who could particularly benefit from immunotherapy. Furthermore, they want to identify factors that might make these therapies less effective in other patients or lead to severe inflammatory side effects.

Here you can find further information.

Dr. Dr. Emre Kocakavuk, Dept. of Haemotology and Stem Cell Transplantation, West German Cancer Centre, University Hospital Essen

Project: AI-guided characterization of copy number signatures in the context of cancer therapies

Copy number variations (CNVs) play a key role in cancer's onset, growth, and treatment resistance. While cancer genomics has advanced, CNV patterns remain understudied. We will study CNV signatures in recurring cancers post-treatment, integrating them with treatment data. Using large datasets and AI, the aim is to enhance precision oncology and improve cancer therapy.

Here you can find further information.

Dr. Julia Lang-Meli, Department of Medicine II, Medical Center ─ University of Freiburg

Project: Gender-specific disparities in the CD8+ T cell-mediated immune control of chronic hepatitis B viral infection

In chronic Hepatitis B Virus (HBV) infection, viral load is higher in male patients compared to females, increasing their risk for severe complications such as hepatocellular carcinoma. We aim to define the immunological mechanisms responsible for these gender-specific differences by analyzing the overall immune landscape and HBV-specific CD8+ T cells in male versus female patients.

Here you can find further information.

PD Dr. Simon Lebek, Department for Internal Medicine II, University Hospital Regensburg

Project: CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing of CaMKIIδ as antiarrhythmic therapy in the case of sleep-related breathing disorders

Sleep-disordered breathing is a common disease, which is frequently associated with cardiac arrhythmias, thereby reducing the quality and expectation of life. Our goal is to eliminate the activation site of a harmful factor that is critical for this disease. In the long term, this approach could lead to a new therapeutic strategy for cardiac arrhythmias in patients with sleep-disordered breathing.

Here you can find further information.

Dr. Caroline Perner, Clinical Dept. for Haematology, Haemostaseology, Oncology and Stem Cell Transplantation, Hannover Medical School (MHH)

Project: Definition of immune cell-dependent and cell-independent physiological changes in sensory neurons during the aging process

Tissue homeostasis, wound healing and host defense require the activation and response of sensory neurons. This project will define how aging of sensory neurons is reflected in a dysfunction of their ability to respond to important physiological stimuli and therefore contribute to cardinal signs of age associated decline of immune- and tissue homeostasis. This knowledge will provide a foundation for new therapies for healthier aging.

Here you can find further information.

Dr. Saskia Räuber, Dept. of Neurology, Düsseldorf University Hospital, Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf

Project: Analysis of the immune system mechanisms of paraneoplastic neurological syndromes

The project uses modern immunological techniques to gain a deeper understanding of paraneoplastic neurological syndromes (PNS) and to provide general insights into the immune response in cancer. In addition to the early diagnosis and treatment of PNS, the project aims to contribute to the diagnosis and treatment of early-stage cancer.

Here you can find further information.

Dr. Marie-Christin Weber, University Hospital “Klinikum rechts der Isar”, Dept. of Surgery, Medical Faculty, Technical University Munich (TUM)

Project: Prevention of intestinal anastomotic insufficiencies via stimulation of serosal wound healing and induction of mesothelial-to-mesenchymal transition of mesothelial cells

Intact intestinal wound healing (anastomotic healing) is key to successful surgical therapy for colorectal cancer. The aim of this project is to investigate the role of the serosal intestinal wall layer and its resident cells, the mesothelial cells, in anastomotic healing and their potential utility for targeted treatments to prevent anastomotic leakage.

Here you can find further information.

Dr. Marcel Seungsu Woo, Institute of Neuroimmunology and Multiple Sclerosis (INIMS), University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf (UKE)

Project: The interferon network in inflammatory neurodegeneration

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an inflammatory disease of the central nervous system and the most frequent cause of non-traumatic, neurologically based disability during young adulthood. In the case of MS, a chronic inflammation in the brain and spinal cord leads to a continuous loss of nerve cells (neurons) which cannot be treated effectively via therapies. New therapeutic approaches are therefore necessary in order to directly protect the neurons.

Here you can find further information.

Else Kröner Memorial Fellowships 2022

Dr. Michael S. Balzer, Department of Nephrology and Medical Intensive Care, Charité – University Hospital

Project: Endophenotypes of kidney disease progression at the single-cell level 

Despite a tremendous capacity of the kidney to regenerate, acute kidney injury often leads to chronic kidney disease. Over 850 million people are affected worldwide. The project uses modern single-cell transcriptomic analyses to elucidate cellular signatures (“endophenotypes”) of both successful and maladaptive/scarring repair. The aim is to revolutionize classical paradigms of how kidney disease is characterized.

Here you can get further information.

Dr. Julius C. Fischer, Department of Radiation Oncology, Technical University of Munich (TUM)

Project: Influence of hormonal regulatory circuits on antitumor immune responses following radiation therapy

The research group investigates mechanisms for improving response rates after radiation therapy or combined radioimmunotherapy. In this project, the scientists want to study the influence of specific hormonal mechanisms on the development of a tumor-specific immune response after radiation therapy or the combination of radiation therapy and immunotherapy.

Here you can get further information.

Dr. Alexandru-Emil Matei, Clinic for Rheumatology and Hiller Research Center, University Hospital of Düsseldorf and Heinrich-Heine-University (HHU) Düsseldorf

Project: Advanced engineered organotypic models of fibrosis for pathophysiological studies and for testing novel therapeutic approaches

Current models of fibrosis only partially reproduce the pathogenesis of fibrotic diseases. Our goal is to establish complementary models of human fibrosis with varying complexity and throughput capacities that can better mimic the development and progression of fibrotic diseases and thus provide greater predictive power for the use of antifibrotic agents in humans.

Here you can get further information.

Dr. Julien H. Park, Department for Children and Adolescents – General Pediatrics, Münster University Hospital

Project: N-acetylmannosamine as potential therapy for Golgi homeostasis disorders

Disorders of Golgi homeostasis are severe inborn errors of metabolism with impaired glycosylation. The project explores the underlying pathomechanisms on a molecular basis and will evaluate a potential therapeutic intervention in a cell model. In a broader perspective, the results might serve as a foundation for treatment development for more common disorders of the central nervous system.

Here you can get further information.


Dr. Robert Seifert, Clinic for Nuclear Medicine and Münster University Hospital, Clinic for Nuclear Medicine, University Hospital Essen

Project: Innovative strategies for optimization of randomized therapeutic trials using molecular imaging and artificial intelligence

This proposal aims to clarify whether the individual optimal therapy for patients with prostate cancer can be determined by machine learning. Currently, the patients have to fulfil simple criteria for therapy selection, which often cannot capture the complexity of the disease. Therefore, artificial intelligence and molecular imaging will be used to guide the selection of the optimal therapy.

Here you can get further information.

Dr. Florian Tran, Department of Internal Medicine I & Institute of Clinical Molecular Biology, UKSH Kiel

Project: Spatial and longitudinal multi-omics profiling to decipher remission under biological therapy in the case of ulcerative colitis

The aim of this project is to identify molecular predictors for long-term remission in patients with ulcerative colitis receiving biological therapy. To achieve this, modern sequencing technologies will be utilized to detect complex molecular signatures with spatial resolution (spatial multi-omics) in intestinal biopsy samples.

Here you can get further information.

Else Kröner Memorial Fellowships 2021

Dr. Fabian Braun, University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf

Podocyte-specific extracellular vesicles in membranous nephropathy – Towards intercellular disease signalling and individualized diagnostic procedures

Extracellular vesicles (EVs) are small membrane bound spheres and critical contributors to intercellular crosstalk. We aim to characterize the podocyte-specific release and cargo of EVs and identify alterations in Membranous Nephropathy. Thereby, we will uncover novel disease pathways and non-invasive diagnostic strategies to improve patient stratification and establish personalized therapies.

Here you can get further information.

Dr. Sied Kebir, University Hospital Essen

Multicenter study of deep learning-based prediction of MGMT gene promoter methylation status from digitized H&E stained whole-slide-image data in IDH wild-type glioblastoma

The Else Kröner Memorial Fellowship will support the implementation of a multicenter, pan-European project with the goal of developing a deep learning model that will use artificial intelligence to enable fully automated prediction of MGMT promoter methylation status from digitized H&E stained whole-slide-image data preparations in glioblastoma patients. This tool can help to more rapidly and efficiently plan downstream therapy for glioblastoma patients.

Here you can get further information.

Dr. Costanza Pellegrini, Deutsches Herzzentrum München

IMPACTAVI - NIRS-IVUS to Improve Assessment of Coronary artery disease severity in patients refereed for Transcatheter Aortic Valve Implantation

The IMPACTAVI study deals with the identification of “dangerous” coronary lesions by means of a new type of intravascular imaging, the so-called NIRS-IVUS imaging, which can be used regardless of the presence of aortic valve stenosis. The aim of this study is to improve assessment of coronary artery in this specific patient population and allow for personalized medical treatment in the future.

Here you can get further information.

Dr. Roman Sankowski, Universitätsklinikum Freiburg

Aktivierung repetitiver Genomsequenzen zur Steigerung der Immunogenität maligner Hirntumore

Glioblastome sind die häufigste maligne Krebserkrankung des Gehirns. Selbst unter maximaler Therapie führen sie innerhalb von ein bis zwei Jahren zum Tod. Leider sind Immuntherapien, die bei anderen Tumorentitäten effektiv sind, bei Glioblastomen bisher nicht wirksam. Einer der möglichen Erklärungsansätze liegt in der Beobachtung, dass Glioblastome ein Milieu aufweisen, das das Immunsystem unterdrückt. Im Rahmen des vorliegenden Projekts soll durch eine gezielte Aktivierung von repetitiven Genomsequenzen das Immunsystem in einem Mausmodell für Glioblastome aktiviert werden. Es wird untersucht, wie Lymphozyten vom adaptiven und Makrophagen vom angeborenen Immunsystem auf eine solche Aktivierung reagieren. Aus den Ergebnissen sollen Erkenntnisse für neuartige Immuntherapien von Glioblastomen gewonnen werden.

Dr. Philipp Sievers, University Hospital Heidelberg and German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) Heidelberg

Identification of morpho-molecular diversity and resistance traits in gliosarcoma

A major obstacle for effective therapy in glioblastoma, one of the most common and aggressive primary brain tumors, is the intra-tumoral heterogeneity, resulting in recurrence driven by a resistant tumor cell population (clone) that has evaded previous treatment. Gliosarcoma, a subtype of glioblastoma, is the pivotal example of intra-tumoral heterogeneity: These tumors are morphologically characterized by a biphasic pattern with alternating areas displaying glial and mesenchymal differentiation. The mesenchymal component can already be present at first resection, but is particularly frequent in recurrences of pre-treated glioblastoma. This observation points towards a clonal selection of the mesenchymal clone under therapy and, thus, a higher resistance of the mesenchymal clone. In addition, there are important molecular differences between the two components. Single-cell sequencing technologies enable a comprehensive molecular characterization of the different subclones within tumors. The project will address the intra-tumoral heterogeneity in gliosarcoma by single-cell sequencing. Identifying the molecular characteristics behind emergence and resistance of gliosarcoma subclones would guide novel treatment approaches.

Here you can get further information.

Dr. Sharmili Edwin Thanarajah, University Hospital Frankfurt, Goethe University

The role of central insulin resistance in the development of depressive symptoms

Diabetes and depression often occur together and are the leading causes of disability worldwide. However, the mechanisms underlying this high comorbidity rate are unclear. In this study, we use brain imaging, behavioral experiments and blood tests to investigate whether reduced sensitivity to the metabolic hormone insulin and chronic inflammatory processes are related to brain functional changes and depressive symptoms in both disorders.

Here you can get further information.

Else Kröner Memorial Fellowships 2020

Dr. Felix Brandl, Ph.D., TUM Munich

Neurocognitive mechanisms of impaired reward-related decision-making in schizophrenia

Apart from symptoms like delusions and hallucinations, motivation and decision-making are impaired in schizophrenia – this contributes greatly to patients’ decreased everyday functioning. We investigate the underlying mechanisms of these symptoms via brain imaging and computer-based learning tasks in patients and healthy subjects. Granted in 2020 for two years.

Here you can get further information.

Dr. Dieter Heiland, University Hospital Freiburg

The Role of the Tumor-Environment in T-Cell Exhaustion and Immunity of Malignant CNS Tumors

Glioblastomas are malignant tumors of the central nervous system. Immune therapy has not been promising so far. In this funded project, we hope to gain detailed knowledge regarding the dynamic changes of the immune system in malignant brain tumors and to identify potential targets for new immune therapies. Granted in 2020 for two years.

Here you can get further information.

Dr. Tilman Jobst-Schwan, University of Erlangen

The autotaxin-lysophosphatidic acid-axis as corticosteroid target in the pathophysiology of nephrotic syndrome.

Nephrotic syndrome is a kidney disease characterized by loss of protein in the urine, water retention and changes in blood lipids. We think that in nephrotic syndrome, the composition of a certain class of fat molecules in the blood is changed and that standard therapy with steroids has a positive effect on these changes. Granted in 2020 for two years.

Here you can get further information.

Dr. med. Verena Klämbt, currently Boston Children`s Hospital, AB 06/20 Charité, Pediatrics with focus on gastroenterology

Investigation of the role of ARHGEF6 as a novel monogenic cause of congenital anomalies of the kidney and urinary tract

Dr. Klämbt discovered mutations in the gene AHRGEF6 in pediatric patients with congenital anomalies of the kidney and urinary tract. This project will help to elucidate the role of ARHGEF6 in normal renal development and pathogenesis of this disease in order to pave the way for novel treatment options. Granted in 2020 for two years.

Here you can get further information.

Dr. med. Carmen Mota Reyes, TUM Munich

Enhancement of antitumor immunogenecity in pancreatic cancer via transplantation of tumor lysate-pulsed dendritic cells

Tertiary lymphoid structures represent privileged sites for antigen presentation by dendritic cells (DC) and activation of antitumor immune response. We intend to reverse the immunosuppression exerted by tumor cells using tumor-pulsed DCs in a neoadjuvant setting which may contribute to clarify the mechanisms of therapy failure in pancreatic cancer. Granted in 2020 for two years.

Here you can get further information.

Overview of current Else Kröner Memorial Fellowships

Dr. Michael Breckwoldt, Heidelberg University Hospital

“Preclinical role and visualization of immune effector cells in the tumor microenvironment of gliomas and clinical translation of immuno-imaging biomarkers.” Granted in 2019 for two years.

Here you can get further information.

Dr. Lukas Bunse, University Medical Centre Mannheim

“Mechanisms of brain tumor-reactive helper T cells within the context of immunotherapeutic interventions.” Granted in 2019 for two years.

Here you can get further information.

A brief description can be found on our website in the menu Currently Funded Projects.

Dr. Anastasios Giannou, University Hospital Hamburg-Eppendorf, Center for Internal Medicine

“Analysis of the role of IL-22 and IL-22BP in liver metastasis.” Granted in 2019 for two years.

Here you can get further information.

A brief description can be found on our website in the menu Currently Funded Projects.

Dr. Dr. Tim Godel, Heidelberg University Hospital

“The sensitive nerve cell – Multimodal in vivo imaging of primary sensitive neurons within the course of painful neuropathy from Fabry disease.” Granted in 2019 for two years.

Dr. David Simon, University of Erlangen

“MR- and optoacoustic-based immunometabolic profiling of rheumatoid arthritis.” Granted in 2019 for two years.

For detailed information see the press release of 14th August 2018.

A brief description can be found on our website in the menu Currently Funded Projects.