Dorothee Dormann receives Alzheimer Research Award from the Hans and Ilse Breuer Foundation


29 November - For this year's prestigious Alzheimer Research Award, the Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) of the Hans and Ilse Breuer Foundation nominated Prof. Dorothee Dormann, a Professor of Molecular Cell Biology at Johannes Gutenberg University and Adjunct Director at the Institute of Molecular Biology (IMB) in Mainz. Following the SAB's recommendation, the Foundation's Board of Trustees awarded the Alzheimer Research Prize 2021 to Dorothee. Born in 1976 in Schorndorf, Germany, Dorothee is an internationally renowned researcher in the field of neurodegeneration. She will receive 280,000 towards her research as part of the prize.

Alzheimer's disease is characterised by memory loss and cognitive decline and poses an enormous burden for patients and their families. It is an incurable disease and affected patients die within a few years of onset, as current therapies can only treat the symptoms of the disease but cannot slow or stop it. Understanding the molecular mechanisms underlying Alzheimer's disease is an important prerequisite for developing new approaches to prevent, diagnose and treat the disease.

Neurofibrillary tangles containing the tau protein have long been known to be pathological hallmarks of Alzheimer's disease. Tau aggregates first form in a few neurons and then spread to other brain regions, ultimately leading to neuronal dysfunction and disease. Another protein that is accumulated in up to 50% of Alzheimer's patients and causes neuronal dysfunction is TDP-43, which is also known to play an important pathological role in other neurodegenerative diseases, such as frontotemporal dementia and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Alzheimer's patients with both tau and TDP-43 aggregates show more severe brain shrinkage and cognitive decline than patients with only tau deposits, suggesting that TDP-43 plays an important role in neurodegeneration in Alzheimer's disease.

Dorothee and her team investigate how TDP-43 aggregates form in Alzheimer's disease and whether TDP-43 and tau aggregation influence each other. "This research will help elucidate the molecular basis of TDP-43 and tau dysfunction in Alzheimer's disease and provide new mechanistic insights into Alzheimer's disease and related dementias," said Christian Haass, a member of the Board of Trustees of the Hans and Ilse Breuer Foundation.

Dorothee Dormann studied biochemistry at the University of Tübingen, with periods abroad at the University of North Carolina. She then went to Rockefeller University (New York), where she received her PhD in 2007, and was subsequently a postdoctoral fellow at the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE) and Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich. From 2014 to March 2021, she was an Emmy Noether Group Leader at the Biomedical Center (BMC) of LMU Munich. She has been awarded the 2014 Heinz Maier-Leibnitz Prize and the 2019 Paul Ehrlich and Ludwig Darmstädter Prize for Young Researchers, among others.

Further details

Further information can be found at http://www.breuerstiftung.de

Dorothee is an Adjunct Director at IMB and a Professor of Molecular Cell Biology at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz. Further information about research in the Dormann lab can be found at www.imb.de/dormann.

About the Institute of Molecular Biology gGmbH

The Institute of Molecular Biology gGmbH (IMB) is a centre of excellence in the life sciences that was established in 2011 on the campus of Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU). Research at IMB focuses on three cutting-edge areas: epigenetics, developmental biology, and genome stability. The institute is a prime example of successful collaboration between a private foundation and government: The Boehringer Ingelheim Foundation has committed 154 million euros to be disbursed from 2009 until 2027 to cover the operating costs of research at IMB. The State of Rhineland-Palatinate has provided approximately 50 million euros for the construction of a state-of-the-art building and is giving a further 52 million in core funding from 2020 until 2027. For more information about IMB, please visit: www.imb.de.

About Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz

Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) is a globally recognized research-driven university with around 31,500 students. Its main core research areas are in particle and hadron physics, the materials sciences, and translational medicine, while its most outstanding research achievements in the humanities have been attained in the fields of American Studies and Historical Cultural Studies. JGU's academic excellence is reflected in its success in the Excellence Initiative of the German federal and state governments: In 2012, the university's Precision Physics, Fundamental Interactions and Structure of Matter (PRISMA) Cluster of Excellence was approved and the funding of its Materials Science in Mainz (MAINZ) Graduate School of Excellence was extended. Moreover, excellent placings in national and international rankings, as well as numerous other honors and awards, demonstrate just how successful Mainz-based researchers and academics are. Further information at www.uni-mainz.de/eng

Boehringer Ingelheim Foundation

The Boehringer Ingelheim Foundation is an independent, non-profit organization that is committed to the promotion of the medical, biological, chemical, and pharmaceutical sciences. It was established in 1977 by Hubertus Liebrecht (1931–1991), a member of the shareholder family of the Boehringer Ingelheim company. Through its Perspectives Programme Plus 3 and its Exploration Grants, the Foundation supports independent junior group leaders. It also endows the international Heinrich Wieland Prize, as well as awards for up-and-coming scientists in Germany. In addition, the Foundation funds institutional projects in Germany, such as the Institute of Molecular Biology (IMB), the department of life sciences at the University of Mainz, and the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg. www.bistiftung.de

Press contact for further information

Dr Ralf Dahm, Director of Scientific Management

Institute of Molecular Biology gGmbH (IMB), Ackermannweg 4, 55128 Mainz, Germany

Phone: +49 (0) 6131 39 21455, Email: press(at)imb.de