Memorial ConferenceConference to Commemorate Prof. Dr Chica Schaller and Prof. Dr Heinz Schaller

Press Release No. 66/2024
18 June 2024

The foundation established by the two researchers is hosting this two-day academic event

The scientific achievements and legacy of Prof. Dr Chica Schaller and Prof. Dr Heinz Schaller are the focus of a Memorial Conference, which will take place in Heidelberg on 20 and 21 June 2024. It is being organised by the foundation that the two researchers established in 2000 with the aim of promoting basic biomedical research at Heidelberg University and related research institutions at the Heidelberg research location. Among those invited to attend the two-day event are outstanding scientists from the fields of neuroscience, virology and molecular biology – the research fields of Chica and Heinz Schaller. The speakers will also include researchers who have received, or are currently receiving, funding from the Chica and Heinz Schaller Foundation. 250 participants are expected to attend the conference.

The main focus of the Chica and Heinz Schaller Foundation is to provide support for young researchers at key career stages and to promote women in science. An important component of the Foundation’s funding programme is the establishment and financing of Schaller Research Groups. Besides granting long-term and short-term fellowships for non-tenured research group leaders, and supporting conferences, seminars and workshops in the field of biomedical sciences, its chief funding instrument is the research prize named after the two founders. It has been awarded annually since 2005 by the C.H.S. Foundation to outstanding young Heidelberg scientists in the field of biomedicine and comes with 100,000 euros in research funds.

Heinz Schaller (1932 to 2010) was the driving force in the founding and establishment of the Center for Molecular Biology of Heidelberg University (ZMBH) and, a pioneer in his field, crucially influenced the development of molecular biology in Germany, inter alia through his research on the replication and multiplication mechanisms of the hepatitis B virus. Chica Schaller (1937 to 2019) achieved international recognition for her work in the field of developmental neurobiology. She was the director of an eponymous institute at the Center for Molecular Neurobiology Hamburg – a research facility of the University of Hamburg Medical Faculty at the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf that she helped found.

Prof. Dr Rohini Kuner, Chair of the Board of the Chica and Heinz Schaller Foundation, will open the conference. Prof. Dr Michael Boutros, Dean of the Medical Faculty Heidelberg of Heidelberg University, will bring a greeting. Board members Prof. Dr Karoly Nikolich of Stanford University (USA) and Prof. Dr Ralf Bartenschlager, Director of the Research Unit Molecular Virology in the Center for Infectious Diseases of Heidelberg University Hospital, will also represent the Foundation. Prof. Bartenschlager held a foundation professorship at the Medical Faculty Heidelberg endowed by the C.H.S Foundation from 2002 to 2012.

Apart from excellent Heidelberg researchers, conference participants will include representatives from industry as well as world-renowned neuroscientists and virologists from different research institutions in Germany, the United Kingdom, Austria, Switzerland and the United States. They will present top-level research in the fields of neuroscience, virology and molecular biology, for instance on prion disease, Parkinson’s disease, human brain organoids, virus control in hepatitis B, host cell-virus interactions in HIV or on how the influenza virus enters the host cells. Also, a holder of the research prize and a former winner of a group leader fellowship will report on their research careers.

The main organisers of the Memorial Conference, which provides a platform for interdisciplinary exchange between the participants, are Prof. Kuner and the Foundation’s coordinator, Dr Annette Trutzel.

Note to newsrooms

The Memorial Conference for Chica and Heinz Schaller is to take place on 20 and 21 June 2024 in the Marriott Hotel in Heidelberg. Media representatives are warmly invited to attend and report on it. Registration is required by email to info@chs-stiftung.de