Carolin Daniel New Head of Research Unit ‘Type 1 Diabetes Immunology’
Since October 2022, Carolin Daniel heads the new, independent Helmholtz Munich Research Unit ‘Type 1 Diabetes Immunology’ (TDI). Her research, for which she already received numerous awards, focuses on the immunology of diabetes. We talked to her about her plans and visons for her new research unit.
Since October 2022, Carolin Daniel heads the new, independent Helmholtz Munich Research Unit ‘Type 1 Diabetes Immunology’ (TDI). Carolin joined our Center in 2012 and previously led the group ‘Immune Tolerance in Diabetes’ at the Institute of Diabetes Research. Her research, for which she already received numerous awards, focuses on the immunology of diabetes. We talked to her about her plans and visons for her new research unit.
What Are the Particular Challenges You See in Your New Role as Head of the TDI Research Unit?
“A key challenge I see is closing the gap between our findings to date in type 1 diabetes research and the direct benefits for affected patients. With the help of our preclinical models, we have made important progresses in these areas that we now need to build on with the help of our collaboration partners, of course, to move into clinical application in future.”
What Do You Personally Want to Concentrate on in Your New Position?
“My team will remain at the center of the research unit, as it already is. It is a particular concern of mine that all my employees have sufficient room and support for their professional as well as their personal development and feel a valued part of our team. For me, one of the most important tasks as a supervisor as well as myself part of the team is to recognize individual strengths and talents and to promote them systematically. I would like to continue to specifically promote this team spirit, which allows room for individuality as well as diversity, as it definitively contributes to the success and development of my team, both on a scientific and on a human level.”
What Priorities in Your Research Would You Like to Address in Your New Research Unit?
“As the name of our research unit already suggests, our research will focus on the immune system and its role in the development and progression of type 1 diabetes. The central objectives will be a translational research approach with the investigation of human immune cells from different disease stages as well as corresponding mouse models. Using these important resources, with a particular focus on regulatory T-cells, we are attempting to unravel the mechanisms underlying type 1 diabetes.
Building on the results of this work, it is our goal to develop novel therapeutic approaches centered on the targeted manipulation of the immune system. I particularly would like to highlight our work on innovative, humanized mouse models, which are an important step towards translation, as well as the development of immunomodulators for the targeted manipulation of regulatory T-cells, in collaboration with the Helmholtz Pioneer Campus, among others. Concerning our research focus, there is also close cooperation with our colleagues from Helmholtz Munich. I especially would like to mention the research on the interplay of beta cells and regulatory T-cells, as well as the characterization of regulatory T-cells in metabolic tissues of diabetes that are particularly benefiting from the exchange of expertise in computational immunology.”
What Is Your Vision for Your Research Unit?
“My vision is for our Research Unit's research to contribute directly to the development of future personalized intervention strategies that will slow or even prevent the development of type 1 diabetes. In future, I see our immunological research unit as part of a close network of researchers from different disciplines who, with their respective expertise, advance to achieve our common goal.”
More About Carolin Daniel
Carolin studied nutrition science at the Justus Liebig University in Giessen and completed her diploma thesis at the Max Planck Institute in Bad Nauheim. From 2003 to 2007, she completed her PhD in immunopharmacology at the Goethe University Frankfurt am Main in collaboration with the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm. With the support of a Leopoldina fellowship, she moved in 2008 to the laboratory of Harald von Boehmer at Dana Faber Cancer Center/Harvard Medical School in Boston for a postdoctoral fellowship in immunology.
Since March 2012, she has been head of the Helmholtz Munich Research Group 'Immune Tolerance in Diabetes' at the Institute of Diabetes Research, whose leadership was made permanent in 2016. Due to on a grant from the Helmholtz Association's Excellence Program for Women Scientists, Carolin has been Professor of Immunomodulation at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich since 2019. She has received numerous prestigious prizes and awards for her research, including the Ferdinand Bertram Prize of the German Diabetes Society, the Georges Köhler Prize of the German Society of Immunology, and the Early Career Research Prize in Vaccinology R&D of the International Union of Immunological Societies (IUIS).