Press Release


Carolin Daniel Receives 2017 Ernst Friedrich Pfeiffer Prize

The German Diabetes Association (DDG) has awarded Dr. Carolin Daniel of Helmholtz Zentrum München the 2017 Ernst Friedrich Pfeiffer Prize. The award ceremony took place at the DDG Annual Meeting on May 25, 2017 in Hamburg.

Award for Carolin Daniel

Prof. Dr. Baptist Gallwitz (DDG), Dr. Carolin Daniel, Sigrid Hoffmann (Lilly). ©K.I.T./ Picture: Deckbar

The prize honors Daniel for the "development of new immunomodulatory prevention strategies for autoimmune type 1 diabetes in childhood". Daniel works with her team at the Institute of Diabetes Research (Director: Professor Anette-G. Ziegler) of Helmholtz Zentrum München. There she is investigating how the autoimmune reaction, which underlies type 1 diabetes, can be prevented.  

Now Daniel is seeking to elucidate the mechanisms leading to the disease in order to specifically intervene in the disease process. Here her focus is on the cells of the immune system, as she explains in the video "Vaccination against type 1 diabetes" (in German).

Recently, Daniel and her team discovered a previously unknown signaling pathway used by the immune system to prepare for the attack on the body’s own beta cells in the pancreas. Via a targeted intervention, the scientists were able to inhibit this process and are now hoping this will lead to new possibilities for treatment.

In addition, Daniel is seeking to induce a tolerance of the immune system to the hormone insulin – comparable to a hyposensitization in allergies. In order to favor this reaction, she is optimizing insulin mimetopes in such a way that the immune system perceives them as harmless – in contrast to how the immune system responds in the case of disease. Carolin Daniel and her team are partner in the German Center for Diabetes Research (DZD). 

The Ernst Friedrich Pfeiffer Prize honors scientific work and pioneering achievements in the field of etiology and the treatment of type 1 diabetes. It was established in 1998 by the company Lilly Germany and is endowed with 10,000 euros. The purpose of the prize is to recognize and support early-career scientists.

The prize is named after Professor Ernst-Friedrich Pfeiffer (1922-1997), the endocrinologist who investigated the mechanisms of action of oral antidiabetic drugs and who developed an artificial pancreas. 


Further Information

The Helmholtz Zentrum München, the German Research Center for Environmental Health, pursues the goal of developing personalized medical approaches for the prevention and therapy of major common diseases such as diabetes and lung diseases. To achieve this, it investigates the interaction of genetics, environmental factors and lifestyle. The Helmholtz Zentrum München is headquartered in Neuherberg in the north of Munich and has about 2,300 staff members. It is a member of the Helmholtz Association, a community of 18 scientific-technical and medical-biological research centers with a total of about 37,000 staff members. 

The Institute of Diabetes Research (IDF) focuses on the pathogenesis and prevention of type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes and the long-term effects of gestational diabetes. A major project is the development of an insulin vaccination against type 1 diabetes. The IDF conducts long-term studies to examine the link between genes, environmental factors and the immune system for the pathogenesis of type 1 diabetes. Findings of the BABYDIAB study, which was established in 1989 as the world’s first prospective birth cohort study, identified risk genes and antibody profiles. These permit predictions to be made about the pathogenesis and onset of type 1 diabetes and will lead to changes in the classification and the time of diagnosis. The IDF is part of the Helmholtz Diabetes Center (HDC). 

The German Center for Diabetes Research (DZD) is a national association that brings together experts in the field of diabetes research and combines basic research, translational research, epidemiology and clinical applications. The aim is to develop novel strategies for personalized prevention and treatment of diabetes. Members are Helmholtz Zentrum München – German Research Center for Environmental Health, the German Diabetes Center in Düsseldorf, the German Institute of Human Nutrition in Potsdam-Rehbrücke, the Paul Langerhans Institute Dresden of the Helmholtz Zentrum München at the University Medical Center Carl Gustav Carus of the TU Dresden and the Institute for Diabetes Research and Metabolic Diseases of the Helmholtz Zentrum München at the Eberhard-Karls-University of Tuebingen together with associated partners at the Universities in Heidelberg, Cologne, Leipzig, Lübeck and Munich.