Skip to content
New active agent against heart failure

Kristina Lorenz Wins Phoenix Prize

Würzburg/Dortmund, 18th November 2021

When the heart is subjected to increased stress, for example through sport or high blood pressure, it grows. In this way, it tries to keep its performance constant even under higher strain. In fact, this growth can improve the heart's performance to a certain extent. However, if the growth stops, heart muscle cells die and the heart becomes scarred and weaker. This can result in chronic heart failure.

However, a peptide agent can experimentally inhibit this damaging process. This has been shown by an interdisciplinary team from the Julius Maximilians University of Würzburg (JMU) and the Leibniz Institute for Analytical Sciences - ISAS e.V. in Dortmund, led by Professor Kristina Lorenz (Nature Communications, 2020).

Die Würzburger Professorin Kristina Lorenz mit den drei anderen Trägern des 2021er Phoenix Pharmazie-Wissenschaftspreises.

Würzburg professor Kristina Lorenz with the three other recipients of the 2021 Phoenix Pharmacy Science Award.

© PHOENIX group

Harmful protein effect is reversed

For this achievement, Kristina Lorenz, who heads the JMU Chair of Pharmacology and Toxicology as well as the research department Translational Research at ISAS, has now been awarded the 10,000 euro Phoenix Pharmacy Science Prize in the "Pharmacology and Clinical Pharmacy" category. Due to the pandemic, the prize was presented to her in a small setting at the department.

Jury member Professor Peter Ruth explains the award as follows: "The prize-worthiness of this research lies in the fact that Professor Lorenz was able to override the pathological effect of a signaling protein with a peptide agent." The protein exerts its harmful effect in patients with high blood pressure or after a heart attack.

The award winner is continuing to advance her research on the peptide compound with her teams in Würzburg and Dortmund: "We hope that we can use this finding to lay the foundation for a new therapy for heart failure that has fewer side effects." In addition, there are indications that the peptide may also be able to be used to treat tumour diseases and certain genetic diseases, according to Lorenz.

Facts about the award

The Phoenix Pharmaceutical Science Prize was established in 1996 with the aim of promoting innovative and outstanding research in the pharmaceutical field. The prize is awarded by the PHOENIX group, a pharmaceutical wholesale company.
More information about the four researchers honoured with the Pharmaceutical Science Award is available on the PHOENIX group website. A video of the award ceremony is also available there. (

The award-winning publication

Interference with ERK-dimerization at the nucleocytosolic interface targets pathological ERK1/2 signaling without cardiotoxic side-effects, Nature Communications 11, 1733 (2020); DOI: 10.1038/s41467-020-15505-4


Further press releases

24th January 2024

EfficientBioAI: New Open-Source Software Makes AI Models Lighter and Greener

Artificial intelligence has become an integral part of research. However, the better and more complex the models become, the higher their energy consumption. Researchers at ISAS and Peking University have therefore developed ready-to-use and open software that compresses existing bioimaging AI models. With the help of the new toolbox, scientists can now run their models faster and with significantly lower energy consumption.

Die Abbildung zeigt die 3D-Semantiksegmentierung von Osteozyten in Mäuseknochen vor und nach der Kompression des Modells mir EfficientBioAI Die Bilder wurden mittels Lichtblatt-Fluoreszenzmikroskopie aufgenommen.
11th December 2023

ComplexEye & AI Enable Faster Migration Analysis of Immune Cells

How and where immune cells such as neutrophil granulocytes migrate, for instance whether they infiltrate tumours, is crucial for cancer patients. They could benefit from drugs that prevent this migration. Until now, the migration behaviour of immune cells could only be investigated using conventional video microscopy. However, researchers at the University of Duisburg-Essen and ISAS have now developed the ComplexEye. With their new microscope for the high-throughput analysis of drug substances, they are now able to analyse significantly higher numbers of neutrophils for their migration behaviour.

Vergleich ComplexEye-Objektiv und 28,5-mm-Objektiv eines konventionellen Mikroskops.
11th November 2022

Chan Zuckerberg Initiative Funds Two Projects from Dortmund

To extend the image analysis platform napari, Chan Zuckerberg Initiative is funding two projects of the ISAS research groups AMBIOM - Analysis of Microscopic BIOMedical Images and Spatial Metabolomics.

Die linke Abbildung zeigt eine Mikroskop-Aufnahme von Tumor-Zellen. Auf der rechten Seite ist die Segmentierung mittels gängiger Computerprogramme zu sehen. Sobald die Zellen dicht nebeneinander liegen oder überlappen (s. blaue Markierung) verschlechtert sich die Segmentierung. Das vollautomatische Tracking führt daher im Ergebnis zu Ungenauigkeiten.
20th September 2021

New AMBIOM Group: Jianxu Chen Wants to Develop „Eyes & Brains“

Led by Dr Jianxu Chen, the junior research group AMBIOM plans to develop algorithms and methods that will allow countless image data worldwide to be analysed automatically, quickly and economically.

Dr. Jianxu Chen hat seine Forschungsarbeit am ISAS aufgenommen.
21st July 2021

New Method for Molecular Functionalization of Surfaces

An interdisciplinary team of scientists present a new approach on how stable and yet very well-ordered molecular single layers can be produced on silicon surfaces - by self-assembly.

Hochaufgelöstes Rastertunnelmikroskopie-Bild der geordneten NHC-Einzellage auf Silizium; NHC steht für "N-heterozyklische Carbene" (Ausschnitt).
28th October 2020

Dr. habil. Milos Filipovic Brings Excellent Science to Dortmund

With Dr. Milos Filipovic, the Leibniz-Institut für Analytische Wissenschaften - ISAS - e.V. has gained a top researcher for the science location Germany.

Dr. habil. Milos Filipovic.