PD Dr. Julia Szendrödi Appointed W3 Professor at the University of Heidelberg

For the past seven years, DZD scientist PD Dr. Julia Szendrödi has headed the Clinical Study Center at the German Diabetes Center. Now she has accepted a professorship at the University of Heidelberg to take over as Medical Director of the Clinic for Endocrinology, Diabetology, Metabolic Diseases and Clinical Chemistry at Heidelberg University Hospital – a further step along the path of her successful scientific career.

Prof. Dr. Julia Szendrödi. Source: DDZ

Privatdozentin Julia Szendrödi, MD, PhD, deputy clinical director of Düsseldorf University Hospital and director of the Clinical Study Center at the German Diabetes Center, is known for the meticulousness of her research as well as for her openness and accessibility in her personal interactions with study participants and patients. As of February 1, 2021 she assumes the position of W3 Professor at the University of Heidelberg and Medical Director at Heidelberg University Hospital, where she will head the Department of Endocrinology, Diabetology, Metabolism and Clinical Chemistry and further intensify her research. Like her predecessor in Heidelberg, Professor Peter Nawroth, who was a longstanding associate partner in the DZD, she will remain associated with the German Center for Diabetes Research (DZD).

"The appointment of Julia Szendrödi is not only a great honor for herself, but also an award for the promotion of young talent at the DDZ,” said Professor Michael Roden, scientific director of the DDZ, who has accompanied Szendrödi's work for a long time. "On the other hand, this of course means a great scientific but also personal loss for our teams at the DDZ and Düsseldorf University Hospital because she is highly esteemed by everyone at the DDZ – as a doctor, a scientist and also as a well-liked colleague.

From Vienna via Düsseldorf to Heidelberg
Szendrödi first studied medicine in Vienna, followed by two years  of research as a post-doctoral fellow at the Institute of Pharmacology, University of Vienna. She then worked with Professor Roden, first in his research group at the Clinical Department of Endocrinology and Metabolism at the Medical University in Vienna, and later in the 1st Medical Department, Division of Nephrology at Hanusch Hospital and the Karl Landsteiner Institute of Endocrinology and Metabolism in Vienna. Together with Professor Roden, she joined the German Diabetes Center in Düsseldorf in 2008, where she continued her research on diabetes, metabolism and cardiovascular complications.

She has received several awards for her studies, including the Young Investigator Award in Clinical Research of the European Association for the Study of Obesity in 2014 and the Ferdinand Bertram Prize, the most important prize for young researchers of the German Diabetes Association, in 2018. In 2019, she was awarded the Prize of the Friends and Sponsors of Heinrich Heine University for her habilitation thesis. In her research, Dr. Szendrödi focused on insulin action in muscle, liver and heart. Herein, she described special effects of mitochondria and fat storage for the development of insulin resistance.

Therapy concepts for secondary diseases of diabetes
With these achievements in hand, Szendrödi is now tackling the next challenges and will join the University of Heidelberg and Heidelberg University Hospital as Medical Director of the Clinic for Endocrinology, Diabetology, Metabolism and Clinical Chemistry in February 2021. "I would like to express my sincere thanks for the wonderful time at the DDZ in Düsseldorf, and I hope that I will stay in contact with many colleagues," said Szendrödi at her farewell gathering. "At the same time, I am of course looking forward to my new tasks in Heidelberg – be it in patient care, teaching or research. I'm looking forward to developing targeted therapy concepts for the prevention and treatment of secondary diseases of type 2 diabetes with my team in Heidelberg."