Helmholtz Young Investigator Group for Yannic Bartsch
Immunologist receives 1.5 million euros in funding
Dr Yannic Bartsch's TWINCORE junior research group "Antiviral Antibody Omics" is being funded as a Helmholtz Young Investigator Group (HYIG). Over the next five years, the immunologist will receive a total of 1.5 million euros, half of which will be funded by the Helmholtz Association and half by the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research (HZI) in Braunschweig. Bartsch already began his work at TWINCORE in January. He is researching the role of antibody responses in infections.
"I will initially focus on the respiratory syncytial virus RSV, which can cause severe respiratory infections, especially in young children," says Bartsch. "How do antibody responses influence the course of the disease? Can such immune responses be therapeutically influenced to mitigate the course?" The immunologist wants to address such questions in Hannover. "I am very grateful that I have been given the opportunity to establish my own research group here in Hannover. At TWINCORE I find the optimal conditions for this, because the expertise of the HZI and MHH come together here for my translationally oriented research."
"The Helmholtz Young Investigator Groups are a powerful instrument for attracting young talent to us from abroad," says Prof Ulrich Kalinke, Executive Director of TWINCORE. "Some of the HZI's very important researchers have been recruited in this way. We are particularly pleased that with Yannic Bartsch, the first Helmholtz Young Investigator Group has now been established at TWINCORE."
HYIGs are coveted and the selection process is very competitive, as the Helmholtz Association only awards a few of these positions each year. This is due to the attractive funding of up to €300,000 per year for the entire research team, including the salaries of the group leader and three to four scientific and/or technical staff. In addition, a permanent position beckons the research group leader after a successful evaluation in the fifth year.
"With the Helmholtz Young Investigator Group for Yannic Bartsch, we have succeeded in attracting a top young researcher from the USA," says Prof Dirk Heinz, Scientific Director of the HZI. "He was able to prevail among the 32 applicants and is thus another candidate in the successful tradition of HYIG leaders in the history of the HZI. I myself had once started with such a position at the HZI."
"Together with Yannic Bartsch, we will be able to investigate whole new aspects of RSV infection in young children," says Prof Thomas Pietschmann, Director of the Institute for Experimental Virology at TWINCORE and spokesperson for the HZI's Infection Research Programme. "With him, we can further develop the HZI's research profile and set new accents in the RESIST Cluster of Excellence."
This Helmholtz junior research group is integrated into the close strategic cooperation with the Hannover Medical School. "His research group will further strengthen the partnership between the MHH, the HZI and TWINCORE on the one hand, and the joint focus on infection research in the region on the other," says Prof Michael P. Manns, President of the Hannover Medical School.
Yannic Bartsch has been a postdoctoral researcher at the Ragon Institute at Harvard Medical School in Boston, USA, since 2019. He studied Molecular Life Sciences at the University of Lübeck, where he also completed his doctorate. Bartsch has published over 30 papers in prominent journals on pathogen-specific antibody responses, most recently on the pandemic pathogen SARS-CoV-2.