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Helmholtz Munich | © Matthias Tunger

Change at the top – CPC-M gets a new director

Environmental Health, IAP, LHI,

Munich site of German Center for Lung Research (DZL): Ali Önder Yildirim is following Erika von Mutius

An era is coming to an end: Since 2016, Erika von Mutius, pediatrician and professor of pediatric allergology, headed the Munich site of the German Center for Lung Research (DZL). On March 1, 2024, she will hand over the directorship to Ali Önder Yildirim.

The head of the Institute for Lung Health and Immunity (LHI, Helmholtz Munich) and Professor of Experimental Pulmonology at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich thanks his predecessor for eight years of great work and inspiring research: “Thank you very much, Erika. We will definitely miss your motivating leadership at the CPC-M. Your enormous influence and your scientific contributions have made us the outstanding location of the DZL in Munich that we are today. I look forward to being able to continue your legacy with great honor and to develop further on your foundations.”

Catching up in lung research: closing knowledge gaps and finding therapies

The new director of the CPC-M has a great vision for his new task: to further develop translational research. True to the motto “Research today. Heal Tomorrow.” (Stiftung Atemweg), the findings from basic research should be transferred into clinical practice as quickly as possible.

Yildirim, together with the LHI and the CPC-M partners Asklepios-Fachkliniken München Gauting, the LMU and the LMU Clinic Großhadern, sees itself on a race to catch up: “Chronic lung diseases such as COPD, pulmonary fibrosis,  asthma and lung transplantation are still not well understood - but at the same time the number of patients is constantly increasing! We have a significant responsibility here, both to patients individually and to society, to engage in this catch-up race. As director of the DZL Munich site, I am committed to  doing that to the best.”

Erika von Mutius has undoubtedly already done this: Her research as both pediatrician and scientist is groundbreaking in the areas of asthma and allergic diseases and has fundamentally expanded the understanding of these diseases. Her work has improved the health of children worldwide and reduced the suffering of those affected and their families, as well as the costs for society.

Von Mutius was head of the asthma and allergy clinic at Dr. von Haunersches Children's Hospital (LMU) and is still head of the Institute of Asthma and Allergy Prevention (IAP, Helmholtz Munich). At the DZL, she coordinated the disease area “Asthma and Allergies” for a long time and, among others, initiated the multicenter and interdisciplinary ALLIANCE All Age Asthma Cohort.

For the future of the DZL, Erika von Mutius would also like to see a stronger focus on translation: “We can get even better at transferring our research results into clinical practice. And I wish that we keep the focus on young scientists. I have always been enthusiastic about supporting young researchers at the DZL through mentoring programs, workshops, etc. and the associated exchange between young and old in lung research! All in all: I had a very good time as director of the CPC-M and am now happy to hand over to successor Önder Yildirim.”

About the CPC-M:

The CPC-M is one of the five locations of the German Center for Lung Research (DZL), which is funded by the federal government. Its aim is to research new possibilities for the diagnosis and clinical treatment of chronic lung diseases. The translational, interdisciplinary approach guarantees that the results of our basic research reach patients as quickly as possible. It is supported by its partners:

Helmholtz Munich
Asklepios Gesundheitskliniken München Gauting
Ludwig-Maximilians-University (LMU), Munich
LMU Clinic, Munich Großhadern