DZD Scientist Receives MTZ® Award 2021

For her research on the influence of the adipokine omentin on the development of cardiovascular disease in people with diabetes, Dr. Corinna Niersmann, a junior scientist at the DZD partner German Diabetes Center, was awarded the MTZ®award 2021.
MTZ Award 2021

Presentation of the MTZ Award 2021 to Dr. Corinna Niersmann. On the left, her doctoral supervisor Prof. Dr. Christian Herder, Institute of Clinical Diabetology, and on the right, Dean Prof. Dr. Nikolaj Klöcker. © DDZ

In the past, there have been conflicting studies on the influence of omentin on cardiovascular diseases. Omentin is an adipokine, i.e. a protein produced and released by adipose tissue. Associations between omentin and cardiovascular disease risk in individuals with type 2 diabetes were previously unknown. Therefore, in 2019, a study of the German Diabetes Center (DDZ) led by Dr. Corinna Niersmann addressed the topic for the first time. The researchers showed that higher concentrations of omentin in the blood are associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease in people with type 2 diabetes. This study thus makes an important contribution to clarifying the relationship between metabolism and possible secondary diseases of diabetes. This was also the jury's assessment, and the MTZ®award was presented to Dr. Niersmann on September 23rd.

"This study discovered new links between adipose tissue function, diabetes and cardiovascular disease," said Professor Michael Roden, scientific director and executive board member of the German Diabetes Center. "The search for mechanisms of action of omentin and other adipokines represents an exciting task for Dr. Niersmann and other talented young scientists to better understand type 2 diabetes and its secondary diseases." Together with Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf and its Medical Faculty, the MTZ® foundation presents the MTZ® award, which is endowed with 2,500 euros, to young scientists from these institutes, as well as from the associated Forschungszentrum Jülich, the German Diabetes Center (DDZ), and the Leibniz Research Institute for Environmental Medicine (IUF). The award honors outstanding publications in the field of human medicine-oriented cell and genetic research. The governing mayor of the state capital Düsseldorf, Dr. Stephan Keller, had taken over the patronage of the award ceremony and congratulated Dr. Niersmann in his speech: "I am particularly pleased that with Dr. Niersmann a young scientist is honored who is connected to the university and research location Düsseldorf in a special way."

Dr. Corinna Niersmann completed her studies in chemical biology at TU Dortmund University. Since February 2016, she has been working as a research associate at the Institute of Clinical Diabetology at the DDZ. In June 2020, she successfully completed her PhD in the research group Inflammation led by Prof. Dr. Christian Herder. Currently, Dr. Niersmann is doing postdoctoral research in the research group Energy Metabolism of Professor Roden. In addition, the award winner already received project funding from the Dr. Eickelberg Foundation in 2017 and General Project Funding from the German Diabetes Association in 2020. "I am very pleased to receive this prestigious award, as it expresses in particular how important research into the widespread disease of diabetes is. The award and the confidence shown in me motivate me even more, and I very much hope that the success can be continued together with our team at the German Diabetes Center.”