Chica and Heinz Schaller Foundation
The Chica and Heinz Schaller Foundation for the Advancement of Biomedical Research was founded in 2000 and has the aim to support the biomedical research at the Heidelberg University. With this foundation, Chica and Heinz (†) Schaller wanted to foster young promising researchers at the beginning of their career to increase the already high esteem of the Heidelberg academic institutions. Many CellNetworks members were able to benefit from generous funding of the Chica and Heinz Schaller Foundation.




The Schaller Research Groups


The Chica and Heinz Schaller Foundation has in the past provided flexible funding support for young researchers at the beginning of their scientific careers, in particular those with a compelling longer-term vision of their work. After an international call made by the Foundation in 2012/2013, five scientists were selected to lead research laboratories, collectively known as “Schaller Research Groups at the University of Heidelberg and DKFZ”. The grant holders are:


Dr. Steeve Boulant

Viral Infection and Innate Immune Sensing Dynamics


This Schaller Research Group aims to characterize, with live-cells, the spatio-temporal aspects of virus fate, from receptor binding to induction of the innate immune response.



Dr. Valery Grinevich

Neuropeptide Action in the Mammalian Brain


The research of this laboratory focuses on two topics:


(1) Exploration of the functional connectivity of hypothalamic neurons and probing axonal neuropeptide release within the rodent forebrain by viral, optogenetic, microdialysis and fMRI means.


(2) Evaluation of the role of select genes, which regulate the activity of hypothalamic neurons controlling stress and fear responses as well as metabolic and reproductive functions by viral and transgenic approaches.



Dr. Grant Hansman



This research group wants to determine the structures of other human norovirus VLPs in order to describe the extent of the structural diversity and to better understand capsid flexibility.



Dr. Thomas Jahn (until 2016)

Proteostasis in Neurodegenerative Diseases


The main interest of this lab is to advance our understanding of the molecular events triggered by protein misfolding and the subsequent impact of protein aggregation on cellular integrity.



Dr. Björn Tews (until 2017)

Molecular Mechanisms of Tumor Invasion


Analyzing lipid profiles of different glioma cell populations and signaling of related G-protein coupled receptors is a main part of the research of this lab. The ultimate goal is to identify the functional consequences of these deregulated signaling cascades on tumor cell migration and invasion.





Chica and Heinz Schaller Research Award


Every year, the Chica and Heinz Schaller Foundation acknowledges the work of young researchers with outstanding ideas in the field of biomedical research with the Chica and Heinz Schaller Research Award. The award is endowed with 100.000 € for the awardee and the respective institution.

We are proud that  in the last years, many CellNetworks members convinced the advisory board and the founders of the Chica and Heinz Schaller Foundation with their top-notch science.


Dr. Brian Luke


Dr. Anton Meinhart


Dr. Victor Sourjik (Alumni since 2014)


Dr. Kai Matuschewski (Associated Member since 2009)


Prof. Dr. Rohini Kuner