Lucas Schirmer, MD

Lucas is a physician-scientist focusing on disease mechanisms in acute and chronic neuroinflammation. He holds a W3 Heisenberg Professorship for Translational Neurobiology at Heidelberg University and is Division Chief of Neuroimmunology.

He studied medicine in Göttingen, followed by clinical training in Neurology in Munich and postdoctoral studies in San Francisco and Cambridge.

Research in his lab combines work with experimental models and human pathology aiming at decoding molecular and cell type-specific pathways in progressive neuroinflammation.

Hans-Werner Rausch, MD

Hans-Werner is an attending physician and Deputy Division Chief of Neuroimmunology focusing on immune-mediated neuromuscular diseases such as myasthenic syndromes, myositis and neuropathies.

In particular, he is interested in inflammatory B cell and complement mediated overlap syndromes and shared pathological features.

He studied medicine in Heidelberg, followed by clinical training in Neurology and postdoctoral studies at the Medical Faculty in Mannheim. He also oversees all on-site activities related to clinical neurophysiology.

Julia Dyckow, DVM

Julia studied veterinary medicine at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich. She is a PhD student in the lab focusing on experimental model systems and glial subtype-specific mechanisms during inflammatory demyelination. Julia has a major interest in utilizing complex transgenic model systems in combination with high-resolution imaging to dissect glial subtype functions during disease progression under inflammatory-demyelinating conditions.

Joshua Criss, MD

Josh is a physician-scientist, who graduated from Medical School in Sydney, Australia. He is involved in data curation and integration of patient-related data sets focusing on the RedCap data management system. His prime interest is on decoding signals from large cohorts of patients with immune-mediated neurological diseases collected in collaboration with local, national and international initiatives (e.g., CLINNOVA MS registry, German MS registry, Post-COVID registry).>

Iva Gašparović-Curtini, MD

Iva is a physician-scientist and MS specialist combining work in our MS outpatient clinic with research focusing on clinical and basic science aspects of neuroimmunology. Iva studied medicine at the University of Rijeka and is a trained neurologist and with a long-standing expertise in the care of MS patients.

Celine Geywitz, M.Sc.

Celine is a PhD student in the lab and has a prime focus on unraveling specific therapeutic strategies to target neuron and glial cell types in the context of progressive neuroinflammation. Celine studied Biomedical Science at Hasselt University and did her master thesis in the lab of Gonçalo Castelo-Branco at Karolinska Institute.

Annika Hofmann, cand. med.

Annika is a medical student at the Medical Faculty in Mannheim with a strong scientific focus on myeloid cell subtypes as drivers of disease progression under inflammatory-demyelinating conditions such as MS. In her thesis project, she utilizes high-resolution and large-area spatial transcriptomics to decode myeloid cell subtype diversity in MS.

Hannah Kapell, cand. med.

Hannah studies medicine at the Medical Faculty in Heidelberg and focuses in her doctoral thesis on neuron subtypes and their response patterns towards inflammatory demyelination. She utilizes complex experimental model systems in combination with cell-type specific omics technologies to uncover neuron subtype vulnerabilities in MS and related model systems.


Hannah is supported by scholarships of the German Academic Scholarship Foundation and the Hertie Foundation (medMS doctorate program).


Katrin Kauf

Katrin is our lab administrator and specialized study nurse working in a hybrid position coordinating tasks and jobs related to clinical studies (interventional trials) and lab work. She has a wide range of lab and clinical experience and previously worked at the Max Planck Institute of Immunobiology in Freiburg and coordinated clinical work and patient care at a large dialysis center in Southern Germany.

Anna Kocharyan, MD

Anna is a physician-scientist and combines clinical work with bench work in the lab.


She studied medicine in Heidelberg and has a strong interest in decoding interactions between immune cells and tissue-intrinsic neuromuscular cell types in myositis and inflammatory demyelination. Anna utilizes high-resolution multiplex RNA and protein imaging as well as cutting-edge bioinformatics to uncover cell type-specific drivers of pathology in immune-mediated neurological diseases.

Michael Kutza, cand. med.

Michael is a medical student at the Medical Faculty in Mannheim and has a strong scientific interest in dissecting cell-type specific neuroimmune diversity in inflamed tissue niches in MS and neuroinfectious diseases. To address these questions, Michael utilizes cutting-edge cell-type specific RNA-sequencing techniques in combination with high-performance computing and spatial transcriptomics.


Michael is supported by a medMS Hertie Foundation scholarship.

Natalie Ludwig, M.Sc.

Natalie graduated with a BSc in Biomedicine and Biotechnology from Veterinary University Vienna and with a MSc in Molecular Mechanisms of Disease from Radboud University Nijmegen. 


She has a long interest in translational neurobiology and neuroinflammation and previously accomplished research internships in the lab of Trevor Owens at University of Southern Denmark and Roberta Magliozzi at Verona University. Natalie is a PhD student in the lab and has a prime interest in decoding immune-glial cell interactions as drivers of compartmentalized in progressive neuroinflammation.

Celia Lerma Martin, M.Sc.

Celia studied biology at the Autonomous University of Barcelona and is a PhD student in the lab.


She combines wet with dry lab work focusing on spatial and cell type-specific multiplex technologies to decipher molecular key drivers of compartmentalized neuroinflammation. 


Celia is a member of the Heidelberg Biosciences International Graduate School (HBIGS) and supported by DFG GRK 2727 (InCheck - Innate Immune Checkpoints in Cancer and Tissue Damage).

Vanessa Michler

Vanessa is our lab manager and specialized lab technician focusing on all lab related issues including ordering and maintenance. She has a wide range of lab and staff management experience supporting us at the bench and with admin work.

Amelie Rabitsch, cand. med.

Amelie is a medical student of Mannheim Medical Faculty. She is supported by a scholarship of the Hertie Foundation (medMS fellowship program) and focuses on complex computational methods to decode diversity of cell types across the central nervous system. Amelie uses a wide range of computational tools to integrate and eventually deconvolute damage and reactivity signatures driven by inflammatory demyelination.

Patricia Sekol, cand. med.

Patricia is a medical student of Mannheim Medical Faculty. She is supported by a scholarship of the DFG GRK 2727 (InCheck - Innate Immune Checkpoints in Cancer and Tissue Damage) and focuses in her work on myeloid cell subtypes under inflammatory-demyelination conditions with a specific emphasis on iron metabolism. Patricia also has a strong focus on disentangling spatially restricted patterns of compartmentalized immune pathologies in MS and beyond.

Thomas Thäwel, cand. med.

Thomas studies medicine in Mannheim and is passionate about coding and bioinformatics.

He utilizes novel cell isolation and sequencing protocols to disentangle cell type-specific pathologies during inflammatory demyelination. One of his goals is to use in silico workflows to identify dynamic drivers of pathology along inflammatory and degenerative trajectories in MS and related diseases.


Thomas has been supported by the medMS Hertie Foundation program and Mannheim Medical Faculty.

Tim Trobisch, MD

Tim is a physician-scientist combining work with patients with dry and wet lab work. 

He studied medicine in Mannheim and has a strong interest in decoding cell-type specific gene expression changes in immune-mediated diseases such as MS. Tim focuses on specific tissue niches and regionally restricted pathologies. He is keen on applying latest high-performance computing tools to analyze multiome data.


Tim was supported by a scholarship of the German Cancer Aid.

Sven Wischnewski, MD

Sven is a physician-scientist and studied medicine in Mannheim. His major scientific focus on immune-mediated myopathies. He uses cutting-edge cell type-specific sequencing technologies in combination with high-resolution imaging to decipher molecular key drivers of muscle and brain pathologies. He also has a strong interest in overlapping transcriptomic features in MS and infectious diseases of the nervous system. 


Sven was supported by a scholarship of the Medical Faculty Mannheim and is an recipient of a prestigious GCOM best presentation award.

Kübra Yagci, cand. med.

Kübra is a medical student of Mannheim Medical Faculty. Her research focus is on medical informatics and establishing an electronic case report form database for individuals with immune-mediated CNS diseases that are regularly seen and monitored in our outpatient clinic. Kübra has a strong interest on acquisition and data integration of multimodal clinical and non-clinical data aiming at predicting patient-related risk scores in the context of novel precision medicine treatments.

Amel Zulji, M.Sc.

Amel studied molecular biology at the University of Zagreb and is a PhD student in the lab. He combines wet with dry lab work and aims at decoding cell type-specific molecular states in inflammatory-demyelinating diseases such as MS. By integration of single-cell genomics data from different lesion types and regions, he aims at breaking the genomic code underlying disease progression in MS.


Amel is a member of the Heidelberg Biosciences International Graduate School (HBIGS).


2018-2024 Sophia Schwarz, MD (Pediatrics, St. Marienkrankenhaus, Ludwigshafen)

2019-2021 Tatjana Beutel, MD (Neurology, University Medical Center Ulm)

2019-2023 Mikail Öztürk, MD (Neurosurgery, University Medical Center Hamburg)

2020-2021 Nadja Pfirmann, MD student

2020-2021 Blerina Misiraj, MD student

2020-2021 Sophie Leer, MD student

2020-2022 Niklas Grassl, MD (German Cancer Research Center, Heidelberg)

2021-2022 Niko Stevens, MD-PhD student (Neuroscience, Harvard University, Boston)

2021-2023 Marten Junge, MD (Neurology, University Medical Center Münster)

2021 Leonie Thomas, M.Sc. student

2022 Aaleya Talapatra, M.Sc.