In order to support young researchers in the field of dementia research in Germany, the Frankfurt-based Hans and Ilse Breuer Foundation has awarded up to three doctoral scholarships per year since 2006. Funding is provided for doctoral projects that are carried out at one of the ten DZNE sites and that are dedicated to researching, alleviating and curing Alzheimer's disease or similar diseases of old age. Possible topics include fundamental research, clinical research, and health care research, including the development of innovative health care concepts.
The 2022 doctoral fellowships are awarded to:
- Melanie Boekholt, AG Interventional Health Care Research (PD Dr. Thyrian, DZNE Rostock/Greifswald). She is now doing research on how the indicator "frailty" can be determined as a standardized measure for indicating the need for intervention and how it can serve as a measure for complex interventions in old age: This is because to date, there are so far only a few, insufficiently researched assessment instruments for frailty (reduced physical resilience) in routine care in Germany. The aim of the project is to establish frailty as a health or age(ing) measure and thus to integrate it into German health research and care in the future - e.g. as part of routine examinations for hospital admissions.
- Marleen Veit, AG Neuroimmunology and Neurodegenerative Disease (Dr. Neher, DZNE Tübingen). In her doctoral thesis, she is analyzing how deposits of a protein called "Medin" contribute to Alzheimer's dementia and whether these are detectable as biomarkers, i.e., as a measurable biological feature in the cerebrospinal fluid of Alzheimer's patients. In people over 50, Medin is the most common deposit in blood vessels. In laboratory studies, she will also investigate whether treatment with newly developed antibodies can potentially lead to the removal of Medin in blood vessels of the brain.
- Annika Wagener, AG Translational Disease Modeling (Prof. Burbulla, DZNE Munich). Her PhD project is dedicated to the cellular processes of Parkinson's disease. The focus is on "astrocytes": These are brain cells that communicate closely with neurons via a multitude of signaling molecules. Among other things, Wagener will investigate whether the treatment of astrocytes with pharmaceutical agents can protect so-called dopaminergic neurons, which are degenerating in Parkinson's disease, from dying.
The doctoral students are funded with EUR 2,300 per month for a period of three years. The scholarship is not paid out to the grantees themselves, but is given as third-party funding to the respective research group in which they are carrying out their research. This provides the fellows with the benefit of a contract with the DZNE, so they are covered with social insurance. It also allows them to take full access to all of the DZNE's employee benefits.
About the Hans und Ilse Breuer-Foundation: Since its establishment in 2000, the Hans and Ilse Breuer Foundation, which was named "Foundation of the Year 2016" by the state of Hesse, has made it its mission to improve the living situation of people with dementia and their relatives. The non-profit organization, based in Frankfurt am Main, is committed to helping those affected by dementia with its own dementia center "StattHaus Offenbach" on the one hand, and promotes fundamental scientific research into dementia on the other. Since 2006, the foundation has awarded the Alzheimer's Research Prize, which is endowed with 100,000 euros and has so far honored 22 prize winners. Also since 2006, the foundation has already awarded 35 scholarships to young scientists.