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Nina Cabezas-Wallscheid named EMBO Young Investigator

CIBSS stem cell researcher honored as one of Europe’s top young researchers in the life sciences

Nina Cabezas-Wallscheid, research group leader at the Max Planck Institute of Immunobiology and Epigenetics and member of CIBSS, has been selected for the “EMBO Young Investigator Programme”. The prestigious program by the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO) exclusively supports 26 young scientists who have demonstrated their ability to pursue research at the highest level in recent years.


The European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO) announced that 26 life scientists have been selected as EMBO Young Investigators in 2021. Among them is Nina Cabezas-Wallscheid, a research group leader at the Max Planck Institute of Immunobiology and Epigenetics and member of the cluster of excellence CIBSS at the University of Freiburg. The EMBO Young Investigator Programme is designed to support scientists by smoothing the transition between setting up their first independently led laboratory and establishing a successful profile in the scientific community.

“I am absolutely thrilled to have been selected as a member of the EMBO Young Investigator Programme. Joining this outstanding community of scientists offers great opportunities to collaborate and share ideas with top researchers from all across Europe,” says Nina Cabezas-Wallscheid.

Cabezas-Wallscheid's project at CIBSS addresses the functional role of the Gprc5c for maintaining murine HSC quiescence by combining in vivo, in vitro and molecular approaches.

Investigate blood stem cell fate

The research in Nina Cabezas-Wallscheid’s lab focuses on the molecular and functional properties of hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs). This rare cell type is the foundation of the blood system and gives rise to every cell type found in the blood, including all kinds of leukocytes for fighting off pathogens and erythrocytes for transferring oxygen to tissues. In her lab, Nina Cabezas-Wallscheid combines various technologies such as metabolomics and epigenomics with in vivo and in vitro functional approaches to investigate the mechanisms governing stem cell and progenitor cell fate.

Of particular interest for Nina Cabezas-Wallscheid is the unique lifelong potential of HSCs to supply the blood system with fresh blood cells. “These exceptional capabilities are protected by a very deep state of quiescence, in which HSCs remain if they are not needed. We want to understand the regulatory networks involved in maintaining hematopoietic stem cell dormancy and, as an ultimate goal, translate our findings to targeted therapies for human diseases such as cancer”, says Nina Cabezas-Wallscheid.