Prestigious award for Elvira Mass

January 27, 2021

Prof. Elvira Mass receives the 2021 Paul Ehrlich and Ludwig Darmstaedter Prize for Young Researchers. © Barbara Frommann/ Universität Bonn


Insights into organ development: Elvira Mass from the University of Bonn receives Paul Ehrlich and Ludwig Darmstaedter Prize for Young Researchers

The course for organ health is set in the early embryo. For this finding, Prof. Elvira Mass, a scientist from the Cluster of Excellence ImmunoSensation, receives the Paul Ehrlich and Ludwig Darmstaedter Prize for Young Researchers, which is endowed with 60,000 euros. In her research, she showed that specialized immune cells from the yolk sac accompany organ development and contribute to maintaining their health throughout life.

For Elvira Mass, impaired function of these immune cells might cause many diseases. Once a year, the Paul Ehrlich Foundation honors a young scientist for outstanding achievements in biomedicine. The prestigious prize is named after the physician and researcher Paul Ehrlich († August 1915) and the chemist Ludwig Darmstaedter († October 1927). This year, the choice fell on developmental biologist Prof. Elvira Mass from the Life and Medical Sciences Institute (LIMES) at the University of Bonn. "Elvira Mass's research has provided a completely new perspective on the role of cells of the innate immune system regulating embryonic development of tissues and organs," says Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Michael Hoch, Rector of the University of Bonn and supervisor of the doctoral thesis of Elvira Mass. "Her outstanding achievement is also reflected by fact that she has now won two of the most prestigious awards for junior researchers in Germany within a year. This is something she can be very proud of, and of course the University of Bonn as well."

Last year, Elvira Mass had already been awarded the Heinz Maier-Leibnitz Prize of the German Research Foundation. "With her high-level scientific work, Elvira has particularly enriched our understanding of the role of macrophages in brain development and function," emphasizes Prof. Dr. Waldemar Kolanus, Managing Director of the LIMES Institute at the University of Bonn. "Through skill and commitment, she very quickly established a high reputation in the life science scene at the University of Bonn, thus demonstrating real leadership qualities in her young years. We at the LIMES Institute congratulate her on this renewed, fantastic award," he says.

In the future, Mass will investigate which environmental factors change the epigenetic imprinting of the yolk sac-derived tissue-resident macrophages and how these changes affect the health of organs. To this end, she will use a recently awarded "Starting Grant" from the European Research Council (1.5 million euros in funding) to study, among other things, the influence of nanoplastics on macrophages.

Find here the english press release.

Short biography of Elvira Mass

Elvira Mass (34) studied biology at the University of Bonn and did her Ph.D thesis at the Life and Medical Sciences Institute (LIMES) in Bonn. In 2014, she moved to Frederic Geissmann's laboratory at King's College in London and followed him a few months later to the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York. From there she returned to the LIMES Institute in 2017 as a group leader. In 2019, she became W2 Professor for "Integrated Immunology" at the University of Erlangen-Nuernberg. In 2020, she switched to a W2 / W3 professorship at the LIMES Institute. She is an executive board member of the "ImmunoSensation2" Cluster of Excellence and the Life Science Network Bonn as well as a member of the Transdisciplinary Research Area "Life and Health" at the University of Bonn.

Prof. Dr. Elvira Mass
LIMES Institute at the University of Bonn
Phone: +49 228 / 73 628 48