Personal Details

Prof. Dr. Heiko Lickert
Institute Director and Group Leader Insulin/IGF signalling in metabolism and growth & Islet Biology

Phone: + 49 89-3187-3760
Building/Room: Campus Neuherberg, building 3620, room 306c


Scientific Career and Research Area

Heiko Lickert obtained his PhD in Biology from the University of Freiburg and his PhD and Postdoctoral studies were carried out in the laboratory of Prof. Rolf Kemler at the Max Planck Institute in Freiburg and in the laboratory of Prof. Janet Rossant at the Mount Sinai Hospital, Toronto, Canada.

Currently he is a W3 Professor and Chair of Beta Cell Biology in the Medical Faculty of the Technical University Munich, the Director of the Institute of Diabetes and Regeneration Research and Principal Investigator in the Institute of Stem Cell Research at the Helmholtz Center Munich. He is also in the Steering Committee of the Helmholtz Diabetes Center, the Helmholtz Pioneer Campus and in the Research Coordination Board of the German Center for Diabetes Research. His work has been funded by the European Research Council and an Emmy-Noether fellowship from the German Research Foundation.

Stem and Progenitor Cells in Pancreas Development, Regeneration and Drug Screening

The lack or dysfunction of insulin-producing β-cells is the cause of type I or type II diabetes, respectively. The primary objective of the Institute of Diabetes and Regeneration Research (IDR) at the Helmholtz Zentrum München is to develop regenerative therapeutic approaches to treat diabetes mellitus - complementary and alternative to the classical immunological and metabolic therapy strategies.

In vitro generation of β-cells from pluripotent stem cells for cell-replacement therapy or triggering endogenous mechanisms of β-cell repair have great potential in the field of regenerative medicine. Both approaches rely on a thorough understanding of β-cell development and homeostasis in pre-clinical models.

Therefore, the aim is to improve current strategies for functional β-cell production in vitro which are used for drug screening assays, with the ultimate goal to provide alternative sources of β-cells for therapy. Additionally, we analyze and characterize the embryonic and adult pancreatic progenitor cells to understand endocrine lineage formation, specifically the development of the insulin producing β-cell and their functions in metabolic signaling, homeostasis and regeneration.


Curriculum vitae

Oct. 1992 – Dec. 1997Studies of Biology at Albert-Ludwigs University Freiburg
Cell Biology, Molecular Biology, Biochemistry and Pharmacology
(Diploma overall mark: 1.1)
Jan. 1998 – Dec. 1998Max-Planck Institute for Immunobiology Freiburg
Department of Molecular Embryology, Prof. Rolf Kemler
Diploma Thesis: “Influence of E-Cadherin Phosphorylation
on Cell-Cell Adhesion” (mark: 1.0)
Jan. 1999 – Dec. 2001Albert-Ludwigs University Freiburg
Max-Planck Institute for Immunobiology Freiburg
Department of Molecular Embryology, Prof. Rolf Kemler
PhD Thesis: “Wnt/β-Catenin Signalling in the Endoderm”
Overall mark: summa cum laude
Jan. 2002 – July 2002 Max-Planck Institute for Immunobiology Freiburg
Department of Molecular Embryology, Prof. Rolf Kemler
Max-Planck Post-Doctoral Fellowship
Aug. 2002 – Dec. 2004Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute
Mount Sinai Hospital, Toronto, Canada
Department of Fetal Health and Development, Prof. Janet Rossant
Post-Doctoral Studies, Early Embryogenesis and Endoderm Development
Jan. 2005 – June 2009HelmholtzZentrum münchen
Institute for Stem Cell Research
Junior Group Leader, Endoderm Development and Regeneration
Juli 2009 –Aug 2011HelmholtzZentrum münchen
Institute for Stem Cell Research
Principal Investigator, Endoderm Development and Regeneration
2015 - 2015Visiting Professorship, Raine Medical Research Foundation, University of Western Australia
August 2011 – nowHelmholtzZentrum münchen
Institute of Diabetes and Regenerationsforschung


Scientific Awards

2002 Albert-Ludwigs University Freiburg
Hans-Spemann Award 2002
Recognition for academic excellence at the doctoral level.
Awarded to a single individual by the Dr. Gerhard-Fritz foundation
2003Max-Planck Society
Otto-Hahn Medal 2003
Recognition for outstanding scientific achievement during PhD studies.
Awarded to a few PhDs across all disciplines of the Max-Planck Society.
2005German Research Foundation (DFG)
Emmy-Noether Junior Group 2005-2009
5-year funding for outstanding young scientists returning to Germany.
2010European Research Council (ERC)
ERC Starting Grant 2010-2015
5-year funding for pioneering frontier research.

Paula and Richard von Hertwig Award for Interdisciplinary Cooperation


"Verein der Freunde und Förderer" of the Helmholtz Zentrum München (VdFF) and the AtemWeg Foundation. VdFF Prize award for Interdisciplinary Collaboration 2016 - 2017. €10.000 awarded and shared by all authors of the publication.


Publications of Heiko Lickert at PubMed