Krishnaraj Rajalingam selected to be a fellow of the Gutenberg Research College

Eminent molecular cell biologist will establish a research team at the Research Center for Immunotherapy of Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz


The Gutenberg Research College (GRC) of Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) has awarded the coveted GRC fellowship to Professor Krishnaraj Rajalingam. In the upcoming years, he will lead a research team at the Research Center for Immunotherapy at Mainz University. Rajalingam's research is focused on understanding the molecular signaling machinery which controls fundamental cell processes such as programmed cell death, cell migration, and cell differentiation. Professor Krishnaraj Rajalingam has recently won the prestigious Heisenberg Professorship of the German Research Foundation (DFG) and has started off as a tenured cell biology professor in the Mainz University Medical Center from July 2014. He is currently heading a Molecular Signaling Unit, which is currently affiliated to the Institute of Immunology.

Professor Matthias Neubert, Director of the GRC and head of the Theoretical High Energy Physics work group at Mainz University, considers that conferring the fellowship to Professor Krishnaraj Rajalingam will provide "an important boost to the translational medicine in the areas of immunotherapy, the neurosciences, and vascular biology." Neubert added that the award of the GRC fellowship to Rajalingam will contribute significantly to the future development of this top-level research field in Mainz and will further enhance JGU's research profile.

Rajalingam’s main research interests are to understand how signaling pathways are deregulated in pathological conditions like cancer. It is of paramount importance to understand the molecular basis to comprehend the etiology of complex disorders like cancer so that novel therapeutic strategies can be designed and administered in the clinics. How do the cells undergo programmed cell death? How do the cells migrate and differentiate to form different tissue types? How do bacterial pathogens interact with host cells? Which molecules in the cells can be targeted to specifically kill tumor cells? Rajalingam’s goal is to answer some of these fundamental questions, which could pave the way for novel therapeutics for several major human diseases including cancer.

"The granting of the GRC fellowship to Professor Krishnaraj Rajalingam represents a major success for our Research Center for Immunotherapy and it will decisively help us in our efforts to become one of the leading centers for translational research in the fields of immunology, the neurosciences, and vascular biology. His research will undoubtedly contribute to a better understanding of what causes dysregulation in chronic infections, autoimmune disorders, and cancer," said Professor Ulrich Förstermann, the Chief Scientific Officer of the Mainz University Medical Center.

The Gutenberg Research College was founded by Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz in 2007 with the aim of promoting the university's core academic strengths and supporting promising new fields of research. The award of a fellowship is one of the most important instruments employed by the GRC and provides for the targeted financial support of outstanding researchers, putting in place ideal conditions for the implementation of their research projects.

Krishnaraj Rajalingam, born in 1977, acquired a Master's degree in Life Sciences from Bharathidasan University in India in 2000. He obtained his doctorate in 2004 from the Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology (MPIIB) in Berlin and subsequently continued his research stay at the MPIIB for another two years as a research scientist. From 2006 to 2008, he headed a research group at the Institute of Medical Radiology and Cell Research at the University of Würzburg. He has been selected for the prestigious Emmy Noether Program of the German Research Foundation and has been heading an independent research group at the Institute for Biochemistry II at Goethe University in Frankfurt. In 2013, he became a PLUS3 fellow of the Boehringer Ingelheim Foundation, a generous support offered to outstanding young group leaders to sharpen their research profile. Since 2014, he holds a DFG Heisenberg Professorship for Cellular Biology, which is based at the Research Center for Immunotherapy at Mainz University. Having authored numerous publications in leading scientific journals and winning several prestigious research awards, Rajalingam is a much acknowledged researcher in his field at the relatively young age of only 37 years.