Renate Maaß Research Award 2015

  • Lill, Christina Maria (Award Recipient)

Prize: Awards of the University of Luebeck

General Description

Christina M. Lill, MD, has been granted the Renate-Maaß Research Award for her outstanding work on elucidating the genetic risk profile of Parkinson's disease and multiple sclerosis. She has worked on and published genetic research projects for these two diseases at the Institute of Neurogenetics at the University of Lübeck (Director: Prof. Christine Klein, MD) at the Platform for Genome Analysis.
For example, using data from 3,200 Parkinson's disease patients from Denmark, she investigated the influence of risk genes on disease age in Parkinson's disease and was able to identify two genes that have a substantial effect on disease age (Lill et al, Movement Disorders, 2015). Given the annual costs of Parkinson's disease in Germany of more than 17,000 euros per patient on average, the development of a therapy that counteracts the effects of these gene alterations and leads to a delay in the age of onset of the disease appears worthwhile not only for the individual patient but also on a health economic level.

To search for new risk genes for multiple sclerosis, Dr. Lill studied more than 20,000 MS patients and controls from Western Europe (including about 7,000 people from Germany) and Russia. Seven of the eleven genes studied were found to modify MS risk (Lill et al, Journal of Medical Genetics, 2015). Almost all of these genes also play a role in other autoimmune diseases. Thus, the development of therapeutics that exploit mechanisms in which these genes play a role could be important for other autoimmune diseases. Of interest for future research, for example, is whether knowledge of heritable and nonheritable risk factors can be used to identify individuals at high risk for disease, which is an essential prerequisite for developing better early detection and treatment strategies.

Dr. Christina Lill, born in 1979, studied human medicine at the Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster and at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich from 1999 to 2005 as a scholarship holder of the German National Academic Foundation and graduated with the state examination. She completed her doctorate in 2006 - 2007 at the Massachusetts Institute for Neurodegenerative Disease, Harvard Medical School, Charlestown, USA with a doctoral fellowship from the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD).

The research prize of the Renate-Maaß-Foundation is dedicated to the appreciation of brain research in Lübeck and its scientists. The University of Lübeck awards the Renate-Maaß Research Prize annually to one prize winner. The award, with an endowment of 2,500 euros, aims at young scientists up to the age of 35 (at the time of application).
Degree of recognitionLocal
Granting OrganisationsRenate-Maaß-Stiftung Lübeck

Awarded at event

Event titleUniversity Awards 2015
LocationRathaus der Hansestadt Lübeck, Lübeck, GermanyShow on map

Research Area or Academic Center

  • Research Area: Medical Genetics