Boards and Organization Chart
Andreas Radbruch is in charge of the thematic orientation of the biomedical research at the DRFZ. He has been the Scientific Director of the DRFZ since 1996; in addition, he has been Professor for Experimental Rheumatology at the Medical Faculty of the Humboldt University of Berlin (Charité) since 1998.
His scientific carrier began with his biological studies at the universities of Bonn and Cologne, at first focussing on the isolation of antibody class switch variants and idiopathic variants of hybridoma cell lines as well as the underlying molecular mechanisms of somatic mutation. Subsequently, he was the first to prove on activated B cells that in vivo antibody class switch is carried out by the physiological mechanism of recombination. Andreas Radbruch was able to show that the class switch induced by recombination is controlled by certain cytokines and is directed at certain classes.
Since his move to the DRFZ, Andreas Radbruch has been dealing with the regulation of the antibody class switch, precisely the regulation of the antibody function by cytokines secreted by T lymphocytes. This class switch is an essential element of the immune reaction and also plays a decisive role in the development and molecular imprint of the immunological memory, one of the four current main research subjects of Andreas Radbruch. His further main research subjects are autoimmunity, inflammation and immune pathology, the biology of T and B lymphocytes as well as plasma cells and the development of immune technologies such as cytometry and cell sorting.
In their research, the DRFZ scientists around Andreas Radbruch combine advanced genetic methods in mice with cell-biological methods as well as system-biological approaches in order to decode the individual regulation variables and their interaction in the complex network of messengers and immune cells. A milestone in the research of the last few years was constituted by verifying that plasma cells in the medulla are extremely long-lived, contrary to what has long been postulated. Cytokines are also important in this respect: they keep the cells alive.
Together with a team of scientists, Andreas Radbruch has recently been given an “Advanced Grant” of the European Research Council (ERC) amounting to EUR 2.5 million. The research of the pathologic immunological memory can thus be expedited within the scope of the 5-year project IMMEMO (Protective and pathologic immunological memory and its organisation by stroma cells).
In addition, Andreas Radbruch maintains close cooperation with spin-off, independent biotechnological enterprises, in which the cell sorting and transfection technologies developed within the scope of the research projects are refined, and numerous clinics, in which these technologies are applied in the clinical research.
Andreas Radbruch has been author and/or co-author of more than 200 original publications and more than 90 reviews. He is holder of patents and patents pending and has received a great number of fellowships and awards.
Petra Starke is responsible for all administrative und business matters of the DRFZ. She has been employed at the DRFZ since 1992, became Head of Administration in 1997, then Business Director in 2009.
Ever since her early days as business graduate, Petra Starke has accompanied the Institute through the obstacles of the building phase, the years of 5 scattered locations all over the city of Berlin until the move to the new building in August 2000 and, most recently, its accession into the Leibniz Association in 2009.
Together with the Scientific Director, Petra Starke is the judicial and extra-judicial representative of the DRFZ. Regarding day-to-day management of administrative matters, the Business Director can act as sole representative of the DRFZ.
Petra Starke is responsible for running the administration and several infrastructural units.
Deputy Scientific Director
Angela Zink is in charge of the thematic orientation of the epidemiological research at the DRFZ. She has been the head of the epidemiology unit (formerly: epidemiology research unit) since its foundation in 1991. This research unit establishes extensive patient cohorts, which are used to visualise the successes and shortcomings in the treatment of rheumatic patients. Since 2003, she has additionally been professor for rheumatism epidemiology at the Clinic for Rheumatology and Clinical Immunology of the Charité University Hospital Berlin. She has been deputy scientific director of the DRFZ since 1997.
Angela Zink started her epidemiological research activities at the German Federal Health Department (today Robert Koch Institute) with investigations concerning the health care of rheumatic patients. Later on, she conducted research projects on infant mortality, child accidents, cultural determinants of subjective disease perception and the evaluation of new health care services for children suffering from chronic diseases. She was actively involved in the organisation of the study course “Social medicine for sociologists” at the Free University of Berlin and has been engaged in the social medical and epidemiological education of medical professionals for many years.
Within the rheumatism epidemiology research, she is especially interested in issues concerning the quality and appropriateness of health care, including the identification of deficits and trends in the treatment process, the prognosis of rheumatic diseases in childhood and adulthood, the testing of new therapeutic methods as well as the long-term safety of new drugs. She places special focus on the interaction of biological, clinical and social factors, which can only be examined in a highly diversified interdisciplinary team.
In 2001, Angela Zink initiated one of the world’s major biologics registers, in which nearly 18,000 patients are now being observed. The results obtained from this register provide a solid basis to assess the risks and opportunities of the widespread application of new therapies on unselected patients. Furthermore, the study group around Angela Zink has always been actively involved in testing new therapeutic methods in randomised clinical trials in close cooperation with the rheumatologists of the Charité.
Angela Zink has been author or co-author of roughly 180 original publications and 60 reviews and book chapters. She is a member of the advisory board of the German Society for Rheumatology, co-publisher of the Journal of Rheumatology, deputy spokeswoman of the Competence Network Rheumatology and spokeswoman of the health care research unit, member of the Executive Committee of EULAR (European League against Rheumatism) and chairwoman of the EULAR Standing Committee on Epidemiology and Health Services Research.
For her research, she has received the Federal Cross of Merit, the rheo Progress Prize of the German Rheumatism League, the Francois Blondel Medal of the City of Aachen and, together with the core documentation team, the Kussmaul Medal of the German Society for Rheumatology.
Board of Trustees
Immanuel-Krankenhaus GmbH, Berlin
Prof. Dr. Andreas Krause
Vorstandvorsitzender der Charité – Universitätsmedizin, Berlin
Prof. Dr. Karl-Max Einhäupl
Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (BMBF)
Dr. Christina Pesavento
Senatskanzlei für Wissenschaft und Forschung, Berlin
Dr. Björn Maul
Prof. Dr. Reinhold E. Schmidt,
Präsident seit 2018
Medizinische Hochschule Hannover, Klinik für Immunologie und Rheumatologie
Präsidentin bis 2017, aus dem Stiftungsrat ausgeschieden
Prof. Dr. Georg Stingl
Leiter der klin. Abt. für Immundermatologie und Infektiöse Hautkrankheiten, Allgemeines Krankenhaus–Universitätskliniken, Wien, Österreich
Prof. Dr. Elisabeth Märker-Hermann
Klinik für Innere Medizin IV der HSK Dr. Horst Schmidt Kliniken GmbH, Wiesbaden
Dr. Helmut Häuser
Willy Robert Pitzer Stiftung, Frankfurt/Main
Prof. Dr. Erika Gromnica-Ihle
Ehrenpräsidentin der Deutsche Rheuma-Liga, Berlin
Prof. Dr. Jörg Hacker
Präsident der Deutschen Akademie der Naturforscher Leopoldina, Halle/Berlin
Botho von Portatius
Vorsitzender des Hochschulrates der Hochschule Fresenius, Universität für angewandte Wissenschaften, Idstein (seit 2018)
Scientific Advisory Board
The principal task of the Scientific Advisory Committee is to advise the Board of Trustees regarding scientific questions.
The Scientific Advisory Committee is made up of internationally renowned scientists acknowledged for their research in the field of rheumatism and in the related basic research.
Prof. Stefan Meuer, Vorsitzender
Institut für Immunologie, Ruprecht-Karls Universität, Heidelberg
Prof. Johan Askling
Department of Medicine, Solna (MedS), Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Schweden
Prof. John Isaacs
Institute of Cellular Medicine, Medical School, Newcastle University, United Kingdom
Prof. Frank Luyten, seit 2018
Department for Rheumatology K.U.Leuven, Campus Gasthuisberg, Leuven, Belgien
Prof. Vivianne Malmstroem, seit 2018
Department of Medicine, Karolinska-Institute, Stockholm, Schweden
Prof. Katja Simon, seit 2018
Nuffield Department of Medicine, University of Oxford, United Kingdom
Prof. Helen Foster, bis 2017
Institute of Cellular Medicine, Medical School, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom
Prof. Iain McInnes, bis 2017
Institute of Immunology, Infection and Inflammation, College of Medical, Veterinary and Life Sciences, University of Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom
Prof. Brigitta Stockinger, bis 2017
The Francis Crick Institute, London, United Kingdom
Organization chart of the DRFZ working groups and technology platforms with the partners of the liaison working groups.