Research Award of the University of Luebeck 2018: Medicine

Prize: Awards of the University of Luebeck

General Description

Dr. rer. nat Rebecca Ölkrug receives the Research Award of the University of Luebeck in the field of medicine for her work on "Dwarfism and insulin resistance in male offspring caused by α1-adrenergic antagonism during pregnancy". The laudatory speech was given by Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Henrik Oster, Director of the Luebeck Institute of Neurobiology.

Dr. Rebecca Ölkrug's research focuses on the study of epigenetic programming during pregnancy, also known as fetal programming. This branch of research is an important addition to the elucidation of metabolic diseases, where genetic causes are only a minor contributor, and offers great potential to better understand and curb the increasing prevalence of obesity and type II diabetes worldwide. Dr. Ölkrug's work at the University of Lübeck demonstrated in a mouse model that drug treatment of hypertension in pregnancy with α1-adrenergic blockers alters epigenetic programming of the growth axis and leads to dwarfism and diabetes in male offspring. The work was published last year in the renowned journal " Molecular Metabolism" (Oelkrug R., Herrmann B., Geissler C., Harder L., Koch C., Lehnert H., Oster H., Kirchner H. and Mittag J. (2017) Molecular Metabolism 6:1126-1136).

Their study is the first scientific proof that the use of alpha blockers during pregnancy can have a detrimental effect on the epigenetic programming of the offspring. The media response following the publication of this groundbreaking work was correspondingly high. Dr. Ölkrug is now planning epidemiological studies to investigate whether a similar association between alpha-blockers during pregnancy and growth disorders or type II diabetes in the offspring can also be observed in humans.

Rebecca Ölkrug, born in Winterberg in 1984, studied biology at the Philipps University in Marburg, where she received her PhD in animal physiology in 2013. Since 2015, she has been working as a postdoc in the research group of endocrinologist Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Jens Mittag at the Center of Brain, Behavior and Metabolism (CBBM) at the University of Luebeck.

The university`s Research Award has been awarded since 2004 as "Heinrich-Dräger-Wissenschaftspreis", initiated by the Lübeck patron and recipient of the University Medal Lisa Dräger, for a high-ranking scientific publication from the university.
Degree of recognitionLocal
Granting Organisations

Awarded at event

Event titleUniversity Awards 2018
LocationRathaus der Hansestadt Lübeck, Lübeck, GermanyShow on map

Research Area or Academic Center

  • Academic Focus: Center for Brain, Behavior and Metabolism (CBBM)