Press release

31.05.2018

A new Lichtenberg Professorship dedicated to intestinal tract immunity

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Portrait Prof. Dr. Dr. Ahmed Nabil Hegazy
Prof. Dr. Dr. Ahmed Nabil Hegazy. Copyright: Charité/Peitz

Prof. Dr. Dr. Ahmed Nabil Hegazy has taken up his new role as Lichtenberg Professor in Translational Gastroenterology at CharitéUniversitätsmedizin Berlin. During the initial five-year funding period, Prof. Hegazy will be studying gut microbiota and their impact on the immune system. Funded and awarded by the Volkswagen Foundation, Lichtenberg Professorships are aimed at outstanding researchers wishing to embark on independent research in innovative areas.

The human intestine harbours a vast and diverse bacterial community that exerts several beneficial effects on the host. For example, the commensal microbiota harvests energy from otherwise indigestible carbohydrates, synthesises vitamins, and contributes to the maintenance of the epithelial barrier. Furthermore, it is now clear that the commensal microbiota has a profound effect on immune responses. Maladaptation of this host-microbe dialogue can promote inflammatory responses and is implicated in various pathologies including inflammatory bowel disease. Prof. Hegazy’s work focuses on ways in which changes in the gut flora can affect the immune system in individuals with healthy versus inflamed intestines.

Using state-of-the-art technologies, an interdisciplinary approach, well-defined patient cohorts, and experimental models, Prof. Hegazy is hoping to study the interactions between microbial, environmental, and inflammatory factors that promote intestinal inflammation.

“The way in which bacteria influence immune cells, and in particular T cells, in the gut, remains to be determined. Our aim is to identify signals and molecular mechanisms within gut-specific immune cells to help us develop treatments for inflammatory bowel disease,” says Prof. Hegazy. He adds: “By combining experimental models and clinical data, I am hoping to establish a strong translational focus at Charité. A rapid transfer of basic research findings into clinical practice will help improve the diagnosis and treatment of inflammatory bowel disease. By doing so, I am also hoping to inspire medical students to become passionate about translational research.”

The integration of Prof. Hegazy’s research group with the German Rheumatism Research Center Berlin will support the translation of basic research findings into clinical studies.

At the end of the Volkswagen Foundation’s five-year funding period, and subject to positive evaluation, Charité will appoint Prof. Hegazy to a permanent professorship.

Short bio
Ahmed Nabil Hegazy studied medicine at Cairo University and Hanover Medical School. He has been licensed to practice medicine since 2007. While completing his PhD, he spent time at the German Rheumatism Research Center (DRFZ) Berlin and at University Hospital Zurich. In 2010, he took up a position at Charité’s Medical Department, Division of Gastroenterology, Infectiology and Rheumatology. From here, he moved to the University of Oxford, where he spent four years as a postdoc in Translational Gastroenterology, returning to Charité in 2017. A professor at 40, Ahmed Nabil Hegazy initially obtained his medical doctorate from Hanover Medical School and his PhD in Immunology from Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin.

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Prof. Dr. Dr. Ahmed N. Hegazy
Department of Gastroenterology, Infectiology and Rheumatology
CharitéUniversitätsmedizin Berlin
t: +49 30 450 514 343



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