Scholarship for Outstanding Research
This year's Novartis Graduate Fellowship goes to Dr. rer. nat. Juliane Lokau, postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Experimental Pathology at the Institut für Pathologie der Otto-von-Guericke-Universität Magdeburg. The scholarship in the amount of 8,000 euros is provided by the Novartis-Stiftung für therapeutische Forschung is initiated and awarded annually for a period of three consecutive years by five selected universities. In the years 2022 to 2024, these will be the universities of Düsseldorf, Hannover, Leipzig and Ulm, in addition to the University of Magdeburg. The award is aimed specifically at young scientists who stand out for their outstanding research work and who aspire to a career in medical research. The biochemist was able to gain new insights into the effect of the messenger substance interleukin-2. The aim is to further improve the therapy of autoimmune and cancer diseases
Photo: Dr. rer. nat. Juliane Lokau at work in the laboratory. Photographer: Melitta Schubert/UMMD
The selection of the scholarship holder was made by the Commission for the Promotion of Young Scientists of the Medical Faculty Magdeburg under the direction of Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Ildiko Dunay. Dr. Lokau was awarded for her submitted project "Evaluation of IL-2Rα shedding and the soluble IL-2Rα as therapeutic strategies to modulate Treg function". Regulatory T cells are a specialized group of immune cells that suppress immune responses. They help reduce the risk of autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis. However, too many of these regulatory T cells can contribute to cancer development. A healthy body depends on a balance between these two functions. An important regulator of this balance is the messenger interleukin-2, which binds to regulatory T cells via a special interleukin-2 receptor, thereby activating the cells. The biochemist has discovered a novel regulatory mechanism for the messenger and would like to investigate it further in her research and find out how it can best be used to therapeutically influence regulatory T cells.
The Commission for the Promotion of Young Scientists described the presented project as outstanding in its scientific objective, originality and innovation. The scholarship holder's previous work, such as her 38 publications, also played a role in the decision. "For the personal scientific development of Dr. Lokau, this project is an important basis for the further development of an independent scientific profile," the commission further explains its decision.
"The fellowship will enable me to conduct intensive research on the project in the coming months. I will use most of the grant directly to conduct experiments. I also plan to travel to cooperation partners and to an international conference to exchange ideas with colleagues. To carry out the project, the University Medical Center Magdeburg and especially the Gesundheitscampus GCI:3 the ideal environment with many opportunities for cooperation," the scholarship holder is pleased to say.
Dr. Lokau graduated with a degree in biochemistry and molecular biology from the Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel. The 32-year-old completed her doctorate at the Biochemical Institute of the Medical Faculty of Christian Albrechts University in Kiel in 2017 and has been a postdoc in the research group of Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Christoph Garbers, Head of Experimental Pathology at the Institute of Pathology at Magdeburg University Medical Center, since July 2018.
Dr. rer. nat. Juliane Lokau, Experimental Pathology, Institute of Pathology, Otto von Guericke University Magdeburg