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Marco Prinz

Prof. Dr. Marco Prinz

Marco Prinz (*1970) is awarded the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize of the German Research Foundation, he is honoured for his outstanding work in the field of neuroimmunology.

Prof. Dr. Marco Prinz (49), Medical Director of the Institute of Neuropathology at the University of Freiburg – Medical Center, is one of ten scientists to receive the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize 2020. This was announced by the German Research Foundation (DFG) on Thursday, 5 December 2019. Prof. Prinz will be honoured for his outstanding work in the field of neuroimmunology, which has led to a fundamentally new understanding of the immune response in the brain. The DFG states that his discoveries have clarified the previous picture of an extremely heterogeneous population of immune cells in the brain in the direction of distinct cell types and signalling pathways. His research points the way to new treatment options for inflammatory and neurodegenerative diseases in the central nervous system. In particular, the microglia cells researched by Prof. Prinz are associated with the development of diseases such as Alzheimer’s and depression. They could also play a central role in the therapy of brain tumours in the future. The award, which is endowed with up to 2.5 million euros each, is regarded as the most important research funding prize in Germany.

“This award is a great honour for me. But it is also clear that research work is always teamwork,” said Prof. Prinz. “When I received the decisive call, my knees were soft,” confesses the Freiburg neuropathologist. “The prize helps to advance research in the field of neuroimmunology at the highest international level in Freiburg,” said the prizewinner.

Deserved recognition for outstanding scientists

“As Rector of the University of Freiburg, I am extremely pleased that Marco Prinz’s outstanding research achievements have received the recognition they deserve with the Leibniz Prize. Marco Prinz is an outstanding scientist, and we are proud that he has a decisive influence on the profile of our medical and life science research. The award also underlines the excellence of Freiburg in medicine as a research location. “, says Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Hans-Jochen Schiewer, Rector of the University of Freiburg.

Prof. Prinz, born in Cottbus, has been Medical Director of the Institute of Neuropathology at the University Hospital of Freiburg since 2008. In 2018, he was awarded the Ernst Jung Prize for Medicine. He received the renowned Reinhart-Koselleck grant of the German Research Foundation for particularly innovative projects in 2015. “The Leibniz Prize honours ten years of top-class research by Professor Prinz at the University of Freiburg – Medical Center. Professor Prinz stands for modern, interdisciplinary research that involves university and non-university partners,” said Prof. Dr. Norbert Südkamp, Dean of the Medical Faculty of the University of Freiburg.

“Professor Prinz is a prime example of how basic research and clinical application can come together in cutting-edge university medicine. Since neurodegenerative diseases are on the increase, the importance of his research will be even greater in the future,” said Prof. Dr. Frederik Wenz, Medical Director of the University of Freiburg – Medical Center.

Numerous original publications

Since January 2017, Prof. Prinz has been the spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Centre/Transregios 167 “NeuroMac”, which is funded with 10.9 million euros and deals with the development, function and potential of microglia cells in the central nervous system. Prof. Prinz has been involved in far more than 200 original scientific publications, many of them in high-ranking journals. “The prize gives us great freedom to continue our research approaches in order to efficiently implement the preclinical data gained in this way in hospitals,” said Prof. Prinz.

The Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize is the most important research award in Germany. It is awarded to outstanding researchers who, measured against the stage of their scientific career, have achieved excellent basic achievements in their fields of research on an international and national level. The award winners are expected to make a lasting mark on the research landscape in Germany through further scientific excellence. The aim of the Leibniz Programme, which was established in 1985, is to improve the working conditions of outstanding scientists, to expand their research opportunities, to support them in their administrative work, and to promote their research.


Prof. Dr. Marco Prinz

Institut für Neuropathologie

Universitätsklinikum Freiburg

Phone: 0761 270-51050