1st European Choroid Plexus Scientific Forum (ECSF)

7 – 9 November 2023 | Heidelberg

Annarita Patrizi, Junior Schaller Group in collaboration with Laura Pellegrini, King’s College London and Violeta Silva-Vargas, Biozentrum Basel University organized and hosted the first European Choroid Plexus Scientific Forum (ECSF) with the support of the Chica and Heinz Schaller Foundation. This forum gathered clinicians, physiologists, cell biologists, immunologists, and bioinformaticians to share and discuss the known and unknown roles of the choroid plexus in health and disease. The choroid plexus is a specialised endothelial-epithelial membrane barrier known to actively secreting cerebrospinal fluid, controlling brain development and homeostasis and an upcoming target for future pharmacological treatments.

International EFIC Satellite Symposia Heidelberg

2011, 2013, 2017 & 2022 | Heidelberg

The Foundation has been a proud sponsor of the Heidelberg Paincircuits meeting. With every fifth European suffering from chronic pain, according to recent demographic studies, chronic pain is a world-wide problem. Effective pain therapy requires that we elucidate neural circuits which impart functional specificity and causality to pain and it is crucial to understand how they dynamically change over the course of pain chronicity. The goal of this international conference therefore is to interrogate, discuss and debate on the nature of circuits and networks that underlie sensory and affective components of pain and to address how these are altered in circumstances which induce structural reorganization and functional plasticity, including disease states, negative emotions and stress.

Over the four conferences (2011, 2013, 2017 & 2022) the organisers brought together some of the most prominent and internationally leading thinkers and experts and gave them the opportunity to interact intensely with next generation puzzle-solvers i.e. young scientists and trainees. The conference themes encompass neural circuits and pain mechanisms, discuss latest insights at all levels in pain pathways and integrate novel data in basic science as well as clinical research.

The ubiquitin system: Biology, mechanisms and roles in disease

13 – 17 September 2019 | Cavtat, Croatia

The modification of proteins with ubiquitin, discovered in the 1980s and awarded with the Nobel Prize in 2004, remains among the most rapidly developing fields in cell and molecular biology. Virtually every cellular process is controlled by ubiquitin. In addition, ubiquitin is responsible for disposing of aberrant proteins in protein quality control processes. It is therefore not surprising that mutations affecting ubiquitin mechanisms lead to many human diseases. Consistent with ubiquitin’s relevance, therapeutic drugs have already been developed based on our knowledge of ubiquitin-mediated processes (such as the proteasome inhibitor, Velcade, and the modifier of ubiquitin modification, Lenalidomide) and are successfully used for treating certain cancers. By facilitating scientific interactions among both leaders and newcomers in the field in multiple settings, this conference aims to address gaps in in ubiquitin research and to stimulate further progress in the field, including regarding turning basic findings into medical and biotechnological applications.

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Ralf Bartenschlager’s 60th Birthday Symposium and International Symposium of the TRR179, International Hepatitis Symposium Heidelberg

6 – 8 May 2018 | Heidelberg

In honour of Prof. Ralf Bartenschlager’s 60th birthday the Department of Virology invites to the International Hepatitis Symposium Heidelberg. Professor Bartenschlager did his PhD with Heinz Schaller at the ZMBH and is a world-renown virologist. His numerous awards include the 2016 Lasker Debakey Award and the Hector Award. Besides his scientific activities Prof. Bartenschlager is an active member of the Scientific Advisory Council of the Chica and Heinz Schaller-Foundation. Invited to this symposium are colleagues, co-workers and cooperation partners who have accompanied Ralf Bartenschlager on his scientific path.


The Foundation has supported Virology Seminars on the Heidelberg Life Sciences campus since 2003. The seminar series is presented by the virology and molecular virology departments of the Centre for Infectious Diseases, University Hospital Heidelberg. Beginning in 2014, additional assistance has been provided by SFB 1129 (Integrative Analysis of Pathogen Replication and Spread).

Seminar speakers are invited to share state-of-the-art findings and method-development in virology and anti-viral immunity with members of the Heidelberg community working on infectious disorders. Younger scientists, including MSc and PhD students as well as postdoctoral fellows are encouraged to attend. 

Seminars are followed by a luncheon, also funded by the Foundation, where attendees have the chance to meet the speakers and discuss their presentations. 

The first seminar series sponsored by the Foundation (2003 to 2005) was the ZMBH-Colloquium. 



Workshop: “Pandemic Preparedness through a Diagnostic Lens: Development of a Strategy for Coordinated Evaluation and Early Deployment of New Diagnostics for Pathogen X“

February 2023 | Heidelberg
The workshop, was led by Prof. Dr. Claudia Denkinger (Medical Director of Infectious Diseases and Tropical Medicine at UKHD), Prof. Dr. Nira Pollock (Associate Medical Director of the Infectious Disease Diagnostic Laboratory at Boston Children’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School), and Jane Cunningham (Technical Officer, Emerging Diseases and Zoonoses, Epidemic and Pandemic Preparedness and Prevention, WHO). Among the participants were numerous national and international experts in the field of pandemic control, including representatives from Germany’s Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin and the Robert Koch Institute, as well as the United States’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Swiss-based non-governmental Organization ‘Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics’, and the Indian Council of Medical Research.
“We have a simple message to all countries – test, test, test.” With these words, the Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) underscored the critical importance of early detection of SARS-CoV-2 infection during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, in order to detect pathogens at all, timely and structured development of appropriate diagnostic tools is crucial. Considering the possibility of a future pandemic caused by a hypothetical Pathogen X, the Chica and Heinz Schaller Foundation and the WHO sponsored a joint expert workshop organized by the University Hospital Heidelberg (UKHD) and the WHO to enable rapid, reliable tests for the very first cases of Pathogen X.
For two days, experts discussed the prerequisites for the development and testing of initial diagnostic tools and optimal strategies for their early use. The protocol developed during the workshop provides methods to evaluate initial tests for Pathogen X quickly and systematically, and to collect all diagnostically relevant information when the first cases occur. This could help to contain an outbreak of Pathogen X early – potentially even before it can develop into the next pandemic.

EMBO Workshop, “Protein quality control: From mechanisms to disease“

28 April – 3 May 2019 | Costa de la Calma, Mallorca, Spain
Workshop on the mechanisms and functions of cellular protein quality control and its implications for health, aging, and disease. The conference promoted active scientific discourse among the participants through invited and keynote lectures, short talks selected from abstracts as well as flash talks, poster presentations, Round Table Lunches with prominent scientists providing ample time for informal discussions. Especially young researchers, PhD students, postdocs and young group leaders were encouraged to participate.

35th Annual Meeting of the German Association for the Study of the Liver (GASL)

22 – 23 February 2019 | Heidelberg
Prof. Bartenschlager organized the 35th Annual Meeting of the German Association for the Study of the Liver (GASL) in Heidelberg. The GASL is an association of scientists from various disciplines in German-speaking countries, whose work is dedicated to various aspects of liver diseases, including all aspects of viral hepatitis. Prof. Bartenschlager is the president of the GASL in 2018/2019 and therefore has the honor to organize the 35th annual conference of the GASL.

Workshop on Cell Biology of Viral Infections from the German Societies for Virology (GfV) and Cell Biology (DGZ)

This annual workshop series aims to bring together young researchers from whole Germany, mainly PhD students and postdocs, in a small group to promote discussions and exchange about a scientific topic related to virology and cell biology. Each year, several internationally renowned guest speakers are invited to give a keynote lecture.

18th Workshop on Cell Biology of Viral Infections from the German Societies for Virology (GfV) and Cell Biology (DGZ), “Cell biology of zoonotic viral infections: from reservoirs to humans”, Kloster Schöntal, Germany, 23. to 25. October 2019

17th Workshop on Cell Biology of Viral Infections from the German Societies for Virology (GfV) and Cell Biology (DGZ), “High resolution approaches in virology: from cell ultrastructure to OMICS”, Kloster Schöntal, 15. to 17. October 2018

16th Workshop on Cell Biology of Viral Infections from the German Societies for Virology (GfV) and Cell Biology (DGZ), “The ins and outs of virus infection: From binding to exit”, Kloster Schöntal, 8. to 10. November 2017