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Prof. Michael Heneka is appointed Director of the LCSB

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Published on Wednesday, 02 June 2021

The Board of Governors of the University of Luxembourg has ratified, at an extraordinary meeting held on 31 May 2021, the appointment of Prof. Michael Heneka as Director of the Luxembourg Centre for Systems Biomedicine (LCSB). The nomination will take effect as of 1 January 2022, for a term of five years. The appointment follows an international call for applications and the proceedings of a recruitment committee set up in October 2020, as well as the consultation of the LCSB faculty.

Prof. Heneka will succeed Prof. Rudi Balling, the founding director of this interdisciplinary university centre, whose term of office will end in the last quarter of this year. Established eleven years ago, the LCSB has, under the leadership of Prof. Balling, developed into an internationally recognised research centre, particularly in the field of Parkinson's disease research.

Prof. Michael Heneka is currently Director of the Department of Neurodegenerative Disease and Professor of Clinical Neurology at the University of Bonn (Germany). He is also adjunct professor at the Department of Infectious Diseases and Immunology at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, USA. Prof. Heneka is the recipient of the Hans und Ilse Breuer Alzheimer Research Award (2013) and of the Christa-Lorenz Award for ALS Research (2011). 

The Board of Governors also appointed Prof. Heneka as Professor of Medicine in neurology and neurosciences. He will be actively involved in the development of the biomedical field at the University of Luxembourg. In accordance with the regulations of the University, the interim management of the LCSB between the terms of office of Prof. Balling and Prof. Heneka will be ensured by the Deputy Director Prof. Reinhard Schneider.

Commenting the nomination, Prof. Stéphane Pallage, Rector of the University of Luxembourg, states: “We are delighted to welcome Prof. Michael Heneka. His extensive experience in fundamental and clinical medical research, and the leadership skills he demonstrated at the University of Bonn and at the German Center for Neurodegenerative Disease (DZNE), make him ideally suited to take the LCSB to its next stage of development. Over the past ten years, the LCSB has become a leading institution and an international reference in the field of neurodegenerative disease research. This development is due to the sustained efforts of the entire LCSB team under the leadership of Prof. Rudi Balling, to whom I would like to pay tribute.”

“Cutting-edge research in the biomedical field has opened up promising prospects for the diagnostics and treatment of certain pathologies. We are proud of the LCSB's impact in this field, as well as of its role in the research on the COVID-19 pandemic and in advising the health authorities in Luxembourg. Our ambition is to strengthen the contribution of the LCSB to the development of medical research and education at the University. Prof. Michael Heneka is ideally placed to achieve this ambition.”

Prof. Michael Heneka states: “I look forward very much to working with the LCSB teams who, in little more than a decade, have established their centre at the heart of the neuroscience research landscape in Luxembourg and internationally. We will jointly work together to strengthen the position of the LCSB in the field of medical research and medical education, which is one of the important strategic avenues for the future development of the University.”

The Luxembourg Centre for Systems Biomedicine is the leading systems biomedical research institution in the country. Biologists, medical and computer scientists, physicists, engineers and mathematicians cooperate to gain new insights into complex systems like cells, organs and organisms. These findings are essential for understanding principal mechanisms of disease pathogenesis and for developing new tools in diagnostics and therapy. Neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease and description of diseases as networks are at the focus of the LCSB’s research. The combined approach is dedicated to identify and develop therapeutic targets for the treatment of neurological disorders. The research centre employs 256 staff, of which 215 are involved in research activities across 17 research groups. The LCSB has numerous research grants allocated at national, European and international level. The Centre today has 1 ERC fellow (European Research Council), 1 FNR PEARL fellow and 2 FNR ATTRACT fellows.

© Photo: University of Bonn