· People

Heisenberg Fellowship for Peter Walentek

The German Research Foundation supports the scientist's research for five years

Dr. Peter Walentek has been awarded a Heisenberg Fellowship by the German Research Foundation (DFG) for his research on mucociliary epithelia. Within the framework of this programme, the DFG will fund a Heisenberg position for 5 years, from January 2024, with funds amounting to 520,000 euros. The programme, named after the physicist Werner Heisenberg, supports researchers who have distinguished themselves through high-quality research and already fulfil all the requirements for accepting a permanent professorship.

Dr. Peter Walentek. Image: University of Freiburg

“I am grateful for the recognition and the funding, which will help me on my way to becoming a professor and continuing my research work,” says Walentek. He is a member of the Cluster of Excellence CIBSS and runs an Emmy Noether junior research group at the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Freiburg.

Walentek researches signalling processes that control the development and self-organisation of complex biological systems. His work focuses on mucociliary epithelia, which are self-cleaning tissues that form an important first barrier against pollutants and pathogens in the human lung. Mucociliary epithelia are characterised by containing cells with thin, antenna-like projections called cilia. Cilia perform essential functions in cells and tissues. If the development or function of cilia is impaired, serious diseases such as chronic lung diseases and ciliopathies occur.