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Grant of 90,000 euros

HIRI and Vogel Stiftung Würzburg launch second funding period of their fellowship program

Würzburg, December 20, 2021 – The Vogel Foundation Dr Eckernkamp and the Helmholtz Institute for RNA-based Infection Research (HIRI) are launching the second season of their fellowship program in 2022. The foundation will provide selected HIRI scientists with funding totaling 90,000 euros over a period of three years. The first grantee as of January is Darshana Gupta. The biotechnologist now received the check from Gunther Schunk, Chairman of the Vogel Foundation, in the presence of the HIRI management.

"The aim of the fellowship program, inaugurated in 2018 together with the Helmholtz Institute in Würzburg, is to support excellent young researchers," explains Gunther Schunk. The Vogel Foundation wants to enable outstanding scientists to gain further academic training through a PhD at HIRI. "We are supporting the scientific work of the HIRI and research excellence in Würzburg," says the Chairman of the Foundation's board of directors.

Jörg Vogel, Managing Director of the HIRI, and Alice Hohn, Head of Administration, were pleased to receive the check at the institute. "Cutting-edge research depends on a state-of-the-art infrastructure, an engaging environment and sufficient financial resources to compete internationally," Jörg Vogel states. Interdisciplinary cooperation and collaborations beyond research are essential, he adds. "We are grateful that we can rely on the strong and long-term support for our basic research from the Vogel Foundation Dr Eckernkamp," says Vogel.

New therapies for genetic diseases

As a fellow of the Vogel Foundation, HIRI researcher Darshana Gupta wants to develop new CRISPR technologies which could lead to new cures for genetic diseases. CRISPR is also known as gene scissors and originates from the natural immune system of bacteria. The latter use it to defend themselves against viruses, for example. "For many inborn diseases, therapies traditionally address the symptoms rather than the underlying cause. CRISPR technologies are paving the way for new cures and personalized medicine in the future," Gupta is certain.

About the fellowship program

In 2018, the Vogel Foundation Dr Eckernkamp and the Helmholtz Institute for RNA-based Infection Research (HIRI) in Würzburg successfully launched their first research fellowship with fellow Falk Ponath. This program supports outstanding young scientists in their training and further education through a PhD. The Vogel Foundation provides 90,000 euros for the second funding period, which starts now and will see further HIRI fellows nominated by the end of 2024.


Check out recent findings from the fellowship program:


About the Vogel Foundation

The Vogel Foundation Dr Eckernkamp was founded in 2000 by the publisher Dr Kurt Eckernkamp and his wife Nina Eckernkamp-Vogel. Its motto is "Participation in life through research". In the past 20 years, the institution has supported around 115 major projects with a total of more than 2.5 million euros. In addition to science, the focus has also been on education, culture and healthcare.

About the HIRI

The Helmholtz Institute for RNA-based Infection Research (HIRI) is the first institution worldwide to combine ribonucleic acid (RNA) research with infection biology. Based on novel findings from its strong basic research program, the institute's long-term goal is to develop innovative therapeutic approaches to better diagnose and treat human infections.

HIRI is a joint venture of the Helmholtz Center for Infection Research (HZI) in Braunschweig and the Julius Maximilian University of Würzburg (JMU) and is located on the Würzburg Medical Campus.

Britta Grigull

Press contact

Dr Britta Grigull