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PD Dr. habil. med. Claudia A. Staab-Weijnitz, Ph.D.

Group Leader “Immune barrier in lung disease”, Institute of Lung Health and Immunity / Spokesperson Environmental Health and Lung Research School

“Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body, yet we know little about functions of different collagen types and modifications in lung disease. I explore collagens as tool and target for therapy of environmentally induced lung disease.”

“Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body, yet we know little about functions of different collagen types and modifications in lung disease. I explore collagens as tool and target for therapy of environmentally induced lung disease.”

Academic career and research areas

Claudia Staab-Weijnitz graduated in Biochemistry at the University of Bayreuth in 2003. In 2008, she received her Ph.D. in Medical Science from Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden, and habilitated in Experimental Pneumology at the Medical Faculty of the LMU in 2018. She was appointed DZL Principal Investigator in 2016 and is a research group leader at the CPC/LHI.

 

Claudia’s group at the CPC explores novel models and mechanisms of lung injury and regeneration including following exposure to environmental hazards like cigarette smoke and viruses. Her core expertise is immune barriers like the bronchial epithelium and the extracellular matrix (ECM). The ECM plays a crucial role in virtually all lung diseases. For instance, excessive deposition of collagen and other extracellular matrix (ECM) components is the ultimate hallmark of lung fibrosis, a frequent outcome of toxicant- and environmental hazard-induced lung damage. In lung cancer, tumor-encapsulating ECM frequently causes resistance to systemic therapy. Here, characterizing the ECM in molecular detail may lead to better prognostic and diagnostic strategies and targeting the ECM may lead to a better outcome in systemic therapy. Therefore, Claudia’s research work revolves around the synthesis and modification of collagen, the biological function of collagen post-translational modifications (PTMs), and the druggability of the involved chaperones and enzymes for disease. Finally, she explores the potential of ECM-derived peptides as peripheral markers for tumor progression after therapy.

Claudia furthermore has expertise in the establishment and validation of human-derived models of disease as alternatives for animal experimentation. In this context a current aim of Claudia’s research is to establish human organotypic models for the investigation of the effects of collagen composition and PTMs on stem cell maintenance and differentiation. Such models are lacking to date and will blaze the trail for the study of biological functions of different collagen types and PTMs in health and disease.

Skills

 Extracellular Matrix Collagen In-vitro models Lung toxicology Lung Regeneration Bronchial Epithelium 

Professional Background

Since 2017

Group Leader “Immune barrier in lung health and disease”, Institute of Lung Health and Immunity

Since 2017

Spokesperson "Environmental Health and Lung Research School", Helmholtz Munich

2017

Habilitation in Experimental Pneumology at the Medical Faculty of the LMU, Munich, Germany

2017

Spokesperson of LMU MMRS Core Area “Lung Biology and Disease”

2008

Ph.D. in Medical Science, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden

Honors and Awards

  • 2018 – Elected vice-spokesperson of DFG-funded research training group GRK2338 “Targets in Toxicology

  • 2017 – Recipient of Bf3R research funds (Federal Institute for Risk Assessment)

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Publications

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