Recruitment and Infrastructure Support

We support the developing excellence of research aimed at:

  • Understanding responses to system specific decline
  • Defining intrinsic and environmental challenges to healthy aging
  • Exploring system robustness and cellular plasticity as a resilience mechanism
  • Identifying vulnerable cellular and molecular interactions in aging
  • Deciphering how interventions targeting one system influence other systems

Successful applications should establish a clear link to the above-mentioned themes, interconnect focus areas and broadly support ReALity goals with visible results within the next 3-4 years.

Please contact us for further information about the application process for recruitment and infrastructure support.

Recruitment Support

Prof. Dorothee Dormann – Institute of Molecular Physiology, JGU
ReALity supported the recruitment of Prof. Dorothee Dormann to the Faculty of Biology. Prof. Dormann is an internationally recognized researcher in the field of molecular neurodegeneration, studying how nuclear transport processes, phase separation, RNA processing functions, and post-translational modifications of RNA binding proteins are regulated in healthy cells and how these processes are disrupted in neurodegenerative diseases and during aging. She will be adding significant expertise to central research initiatives on campus and has already established several collaborations bridging between JGU and UMC.

Prof. Dormann is also an Adjunct Director at the Institute of Molecular Biology.

Webpage of the Institute of Molecular Biology on Dorothee Dormann

Prof. Tatjana Tchumatchenko – Institute for Physiological Chemistry, University Medical Center Mainz
Prof. Tatjana Tchumatchenko is investigating computationally how fluctuations in robustness of protein concentrations at the synapses contribute to neuronal network stability and adaptation across the lifespan of an individual. ReALity supported her recruitment to the Institute for Physiological Chemistry (UMC) to further expand the computational expertise at JGU and UMC. Prof. Tchumatchenko's work bridges disciplines by combining mathematical modeling, computer simulations, quantitative data analysis and proteomics, hence strengthening several structural initiatives at JGU.
Prof. Susanne Gerber – Institute of Human Genetics, University Medical Center Mainz
The close link between data generation and analysis is one of the core features of the ReALity initiative. ReALity has supported the recruitment of Prof. Susanne Gerber to a W2 position for clinical genomics and bioinformatics at the University Medical Center. Prof. Gerber is a young biomathematician with a focus on omics analysis and the processing of complex data sets with small sample sizes. Her recruitment has filled a substantial gap at the UMC and JGU and reaches out into all focus areas.
Computational Systems Genetics Group, headed by Susanne Gerber
Prof. Johannes Mayer – Department of Dermatology, University Medical Center Mainz
Supported by ReALity, Prof. Johannes Mayer will work on intersystem communication in the field of immunology with a focus on the interaction of the immune system with the skin microenvironment, T-cell polarization, allergy and tumor immunology. Furthermore, he will provide expertise in molecular immunology, gene expression analysis as well as expert experience in the novel technique of spectral flow cytometry and bioinformatics.
Prof. Luciana Berod – Institute for Molecular Medicine, University Medical Center Mainz
Metabolism is tightly regulated across scales: in each cell type, organ and organism. In turn, metabolic processes and their (by)-products have substantial impact on cellular and organ functions; thereby affecting all research fields from neurology, immunology, endocrinology, oncology to cardiovascular research. Interdisciplinary research on metabolism will help to understand crucial mechanisms of adaptation, resilience and longevity, the key aspects of ReALity. The Seahorse Analyzer funded by ReALity will provide the basis of a live-cell metabolic platform open to all ReALity researchers. The expertise of Prof. Luciana Berod and her team will be essential to establish SOPs required for various cell types of interest and scientific research questions. Together with Prof. Tenzer (FZI, Institute Immunology), the Lipidomics Unit (Prof. Beat Lutz/Dr. Bindila, Institute of Physiological Chemistry) and the Center for Thrombosis and Hemostasis (Prof. Ruf), the metabolic research platform with its focus on immunometabolism will reinforce the metabolism thematic for quantitative biomedicine in Mainz.
Prof. Daniela Kramer – Department of Dermatology, University Medical Center Mainz
Daniela Kramer's research focus lies in the field of molecular immunology, epigenetics, and cell signaling. In multiple pre-clinical and translational project approaches, her group is deciphering new signaling pathways that maintain skin homeostasis, but which are also related to ageing-related skin diseases, such as melanoma, psoriasis, or skin infections. Due to her in-depth expertise in molecular mechanisms of skin diseases, and her focus on epigenetics, ageing-related diseases of the skin, and factors influencing skin homeostasis, Daniela Kramer fits perfectly into the strategic research concept of ReALity and the life sciences in Mainz.
Prof. Dilja Krüger-Burg – Institute of Anatomy, University Medical Center Mainz
With assistance from the ReALity initiative, Prof. Dilja Krüger-Burg was appointed to the Institute of Anatomy, UMC. She investigates the diversity of GABAergic inhibitory synapse in health and disease and was awarded a Heisenberg Professorship. Prof. Krüger-Burg's research particularly contributes to the ReALity focus areas on linking molecules to cells and organisms, through identification of the effects of individual GABAergic synaptic protein components on neuronal network function and behavioral outcomes, and linking animal models with patients, through assessment of effects of patient mutations on specific GABAergic complexes. In particular, the focus on anxiety and stress-related disorders will explore plasticity of the GABAergic postsynaptic machinery as a resilience mechanism and will contribute to the understanding of its role in ageing.
Jun.-Prof. Marie-Luise Winz – Institute of Pharmaceutical and Biomedical Sciences, JGU
RNA modifications are linked to a variety of health problems and are often associated to age-related dysfunctions including, but not limited to, neurogenerative diseases. Jun.-Prof. Winz, who was recently recruited to Mainz, has long-standing expertise in the field of RNA research with a focus on co-translational quality control. Collaborative projects within several research initiatives in Mainz are already planned or established. The equipment for gradient centrifugation, fractionation, and UV crosslinking funded by ReALity will be the basis for establishing polysome isolation techniques in Mainz. This will foster the above-mentioned interactions with RNA research groups and play a key role for interdisciplinary research at the center of ReALity research areas.
Jun.-Prof. Christoph Reinhardt – Center for Thrombosis and Hemostasis, University Medical Center Mainz
ReALity supports the ongoing expansion of the Gnotobiotic Mouse Facility at JGU that enables innovative studies on the complex roles microbiota in the adaptation and resilience of cardiovascular, immune, and neuronal systems. This facility was established in Mainz by Jun.-Prof. Christoph Reinhardt who recently received a JGU Gutenberg Research Council Fellowship. As a GRC fellow, he will continue to develop this research area and broaden conceptually the links between immunology and vascular biology.
Dr. Sara Vieira-Silva – Institute of Medical Microbiology and Hygiene, University Medical Center Mainz
ReALity has been instrumental in bringing Dr. Sara Vieira-Silva to the Mainz research community. She is now a group leader at the Institute of Medical Microbiology and Hygiene and an adjunct group leader at the IMB. Her research focuses on understanding the function of microbial communities, in particular the human gastrointestinal microbiota, in health and disease. Her group combines metagenomics, comparative genomics, evolutionary ecology, and state-of-the-art computational approaches.
ReALity Junior Group
Dr. Lukas Stelzl – Institute of Molecular Physiology, JGU/Institute of Molecular Biology

ReALity recruited Dr. Stelzl to the JGU as a junior group leader with associate group leader status at the IMB. He is biochemist by training and his research focuses on how liquid-liquid phase separation of disordered proteins and nucleic acids regulates cellular processes and how this affects longevity and ageing using innovative multi-scale simulations and data science, including artificial intelligence. With his expertise, he bridges a deep understanding of biophysical experiments (NMR, single-molecule FRET, EPR and SAXS) and multi-scale simulations, a strong background in biology and the ability to design and implement novel algorithms. Together with collaboration partners at JGU/IMB and within the Rhine-Main University consortium, he will push forward biochemical research on cellular regulation by phase-separation and Cell Biology 2.0, thereby enriching the core units of ReALity and the Institute for Quantitative Biomedicine.
Web page of the Institute of Molecular Biology on Lukas Stelzl
Prof. Stefan Bittner – Department of Neurology, University Medical Center Mainz
Prof. Stefan Bittner works on understanding the mechanisms underlying the crosstalk between the immune and central nervous systems. He participates in several Collaborative Research Centers (CRCs), including the CRC TR128 Initiating/effector versus regulatory mechanisms in Multiple Sclerosis - progress towards tackling the disease. ReALity supports his Schilling Professorship for Translational Neuroscience on Personalized Medicine Strategies in Neuroimmunology.

Infrastructure Support

Third generation long-read sequencing technologies, such as Nanopore sequencing (Nano-seq), provide unprecedented opportunities to solve many complex biomedical problems. They have the potential to, once again, revolutionize the field of sequencing similarly to the rise of the Next-Generation-Sequencing (NGS)-technology during the last two decades. Critical for unleashing the full potential of long-read sequencing is the concerted co-development of experimental and computational techniques. The establishment of this technology at JGU and UMC has a pioneering character for several fields of application. It seamlessly integrates with nearly all core features of the ReALity initiative (vital computational and bioinformatics aspects, molecular mechanisms, technological advances) and bridges between UMC and JGU in a truly multidisciplinary way.
The 3D recording of proteins in entire organ systems represents a technical challenge. The technique developed for this microscope makes it now possible to illuminate a larger object (e.g. entire organs) from the side with fluorescent light (shaped as a light-sheet) and to detect the signals. With this arrangement, a larger object can be captured in its entirety by the light-sheet completely scanning the object. ReALity funds supplemented the DFG application of several groups at UMC to acquire this powerful state-of-the-art light-sheet microscope. Its installation and running will be managed by the Institute of Physiological Chemistry. This novel technology can now be applied to numerous projects and presents a big asset to the Mainz research community. The microscope can be booked through openiris.
Jun.-Prof. Timo Uphaus – Department of Neurology, University Medical Center Mainz
ReALity is supporting Jun.-Prof. Timo Uphaus who has recently been granted an Else Kröner Clinician Scientist professorship (Nov 2022) to establish a section of translational stroke research in the Department of Neurology of the University Medical Center in Mainz. His clinical and research interests span the whole spectrum from bench-to-bedside in neuroimmunologic and neurovascular disorders. He aims to unravel the role of environmental-mediated cardiovascular disease for Multiple Sclerosis disease progression.
The Gutenberg Health Study (GHS) is a large cohort study with over 15,000 individuals that combines longitudinal deep phenotyping with liquid biobanking. Within the Gutenberg COVID-19 Study, 10,000 of these probands are invited for additional evaluation and bio sampling.

In order to expand this unique research tool and to allow for in-depth analyses across scales, ReALity supports expansion of the existing liquid biorepository by the establishment of a cryopreserved viable peripheral blood cell bank accessible for all Mainz life science researchers across disciplines. This expansion allows for in-depth and cell-based OMICS analyses and adds a new level on the already existing and ever-growing multi-level biodata present in this unique infrastructure.
Website of the Gutenberg COVID-19 study

In the framework of the longitudinal study of the Mainz Resilience-Project (MARP), ReALity is supporting the groups of Prof. Raffael Kalisch and Prof. Oliver Tüscher in the generation of biodata and collection of information about factors of psychophysiological resilience in response to the Corona pandemic. The acquired data and biosamples are available to the ReALity community for further research. For information and access please contact Prof. Tüscher, or Prof. Kalisch.
Web page of the Mainz Resilience-Project (in German)