Julia Pagel honoured with the Dorothea Erxleben Female Investigator Award

DZIF scientist Julia Pagel (right in picture) receives the Dorothea Erxleben Female Investigator Award from Prof. Gabriele Gillessen-Kaesbach, President of the University of Lübeck.

© C. Kloodt / Exzellenzcluster PMI, Uni Kiel

Paediatrician and DZIF scientist Dr Julia Pagel, Universität zu Lübeck, will receive EUR 50,000 to expand her research on lung diseases in infants. The prize is awarded by the North German Cluster of Excellence PMI to advance the precision medicine of chronic inflammatory diseases and to promote female scientists in this field. We congratulate Dr Julia Pagel, who has been researching the development of new therapeutic options for prematurely born children at the DZIF since 2015.

“I am delighted to receive this award, which affords me the opportunity of expanding my research. The funding is for a sub-project that arose from my DZIF work,” explains Julia Pagel, who had been supported with three scholarships by the DZIF. With the prize money, the researcher will now focus on bronchopulmonary dysplasia, the most common chronic lung disease in infants. It occurs in premature babies who need to be ventilated, with the potential of affecting lung function for life. “We want to find out why this disease occurs in some premature babies and not in others. Presumably, the composition of the intestinal bacteria plays a role in interaction with the immune system,” explains Julia Pagel. Her goals are an early diagnosis and individual treatment methods.

The Award Winner

Julia Pagel studied medicine at the University of Hamburg, where she passed her state examination in 2010 and completed her doctoral dissertation in 2014. During her course, she had already developed a particular interest in paediatrics and gained experience abroad in hospitals in Toronto, Canada, and Gothenburg, Sweden. Since 2011, neonatology has been a focus of her work. As a doctor and scientist, she works at the UKSH Lübeck in the field of “Paediatric Immunology, Rheumatology and Infectious Diseases”, from 2020 also at the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf. Julia Pagel has already twice been able to benefit from the DZIF Clinical Leave Fellowship and thus to intensify her research. This was followed by an MD-PhD scholarship from the DZIF, and the award winner is currently supported by a Maternity Leave scholarship, which facilitates re-entry after maternity leave. At present, research into the interrelations between the intestine and the immune system in premature babies is on the agenda.

The founders and their prize

The Cluster of Excellence PMI (Precision Medicine in Chronic Inflammation) includes the Universities of Lübeck and Kiel as well as the Research Center Borstel and several other institutions. The cluster has set itself the goal of promoting equal opportunities for women and men in research and hospitals. With the Dorothea Erxleben Female Investigator Award, three highly endowed Dorothea Erxleben Female Researcher Awards are awarded, one for EUR 100,000 and two for EUR 50,000 each. Other award winners besides DZIF scientist Julia Pagel were Professor Petra Bacher and Dr Corinna Bang from Christian Albrechts University Kiel. The prizes are awarded exclusively to female scientists from within the cluster, with the aim of supporting their excellent research activities and thus also increasing their qualifications for further funding applications. The prize is named after Dorothea Christiane Erxleben, who in the mid-18th century was the first female doctor in Germany to receive her doctorate and who practiced as a physician in Quedlinburg.

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