Press Release


Helmholtz experts in demand around the world as visiting professors

Exchanging ideas with other researchers and institutions is an essential part of scientific inquiry and an integral element of the strategy of Helmholtz Zentrum München. This is underscored by two new visiting professorships: Jerzy Adamski will advance the topic of metabolic diseases in Singapore, while Hernán López-Schier will be furthering the field of neuroscience at Harvard University.

© Fotolia/Daniel Jdzura

Prof. Dr. Jerzy Adamski heads the newly founded Research Unit Molecular Endocrinology and Metabolism and the Core Facility of the Genome Analysis Center (GAC) at Helmholtz Zentrum München.

Now his skills are also in demand in the Far East: Jerzy Adamski has been invited to take up a visiting professorship in the Faculty of Biochemistry at the University of Singapore’s Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine. In this framework, he will be involved in instructing students. In addition to teaching, Adamski is also interested in establishing an international exchange program for doctoral students and postdocs between the University of Singapore and Helmholtz Zentrum München. Moreover, the metabolism expert hopes to strengthen cooperation between the two institutions in order to elucidate the mechanisms underlying metabolic diseases. “The focus is on implementing and applying metabolomics and lipidomics analytics,” as the new visiting professor outlines.

Neurosciences at Harvard

The independent Research Unit Sensory Biology and Organogenesis at Helmholtz Zentrum München investigates cellular, molecular and physiological responses to mechanical stimuli and sensory disorders using the zebrafish model system. Under the leadership of Dr. Hernán López-Schier, the research unit focuses on research into the physical and mechanical properties of tissue. The scientists have recently succeeded in stimulating the regeneration of injured neural tracts in live fish by means of light with the help of optogenetics, i.e. light-controllable proteins.

The University of Harvard also became aware of López-Schier’s skills and has appointed him visiting scholar for 2019. At Harvard, he will devote himself to teaching, as well as collaborating with his colleagues in the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology.

The exchange was enabled by a BRAIN Initiative grant from the US National Institutes of Health (NIH). The Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative was set up six years ago. The initiative aspires to be the world’s most ambitious neuroscientific project. The goal is to devise new technologies with a view to improving our understanding of brain functions. López-Schier’s laboratory was chosen as one of just three laboratories located outside the USA.

As German Research Center for Environmental Health, Helmholtz Zentrum München pursues the goal of developing personalized medical approaches for the prevention and therapy of major common diseases such as diabetes mellitus, allergies and lung diseases. To achieve this, it investigates the interaction of genetics, environmental factors and lifestyle. The Helmholtz Zentrum München has about 2,300 staff members and is headquartered in Neuherberg in the north of Munich. Helmholtz Zentrum München is a member of the Helmholtz Association, a community of 19 scientific-technical and medical-biological research centers with a total of about 37,000 staff members. 

The Research Unit Genome Analysis Center (GAC), headed by Prof. Dr. Jerzy Adamski is part of the IEG. GAC is a core research facility with major focus to investigate complex processes in the development and progression of common complex diseases in man, and the challenge of environment to human health. GAC Metabolomics ( has state of the art know-how and expertise with human cohort, animal samples and cell lines analyses and data interpretation.

The independent Sensory Biology and Organogenesis (SBO) research unit works with a zebra fish model system to examine cellular, molecular and physiological reactions to mechanical stimuli and sensory disorders. The focus areas are physical and mechanical tissue properties. The objectives are to examine the mechanisms that control sensory system development, self-regulation and regeneration and to research the evolution of the sensory organs that perceive the environment. 

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