Leibniz Chairs reflect a particularly close connection between an international researcher and a Leibniz institution. The researcher must have a good international reputation and have rendered outstanding services to the Leibniz Institute over a long period of time.

Leibniz Institutes can apply centrally for a researcher to be appointed to a Leibniz Chair on an honorary basis. In the event of a positive decision by the Executive Board, the Leibniz Institute appoints the nominee – usually for a term of five years.

  1. Prof. Alessandro Cellerino

    Alessandro Cellerino is the Leibniz Chair at the Leibniz Institute on Aging – Fritz Lipmann Institute (FLI) and is a professor at the Scuola Normale Superiore in Pisa. In 2003, Cellerino came up with the idea of establishing the very short-lived turquoise killifish as a new animal model in aging research (it has a life expectancy of just 4–12 months). This small fish from south-east Africa ages in a similar way to humans, but much faster. Since Cellerino’s fundamental research, the turquoise killifish has become the shortest-lived vertebrate to be raised under laboratory conditions. Cellerino has been connected to the FLI since 2006, when he was a junior research group leader. Today within the FLI, he leads a Pisa-based associated research group on ‘Biology of Aging: Aging in Fast Motion’.

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  2. Prof. Karin Jandeleit-Dahm

    Karin Jandeleit-Dahm is the Leibniz Chair at the German Diabetes Center (DDZ), Leibniz Center for Diabetes Research at Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf, and is Professor of Medicine and Deputy Head of the Diabetes Department at Monash University in Melbourne. Jandeleit-Dahm has published pioneering research findings on the role of oxidative stress in diabetic complications, especially in diabetic kidney disease (nephropathy). These fundamental findings led to clinical trials for the treatment of people with type 1 diabetes and diabetic nephropathy. Jandeleit-Dahm has been associated with the DDZ since 2018, where she now leads the research group on Diabetic Nephropathy, which studies mitochondrial dysfunction.

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  3. Prof. Robert McMeeking

    Robert McMeeking is the Leibniz Chair at the Leibniz Institute for New Materials (INM) and is Distinguished Professor of Engineering at the University of California in Santa Barbara, USA. He is one of the world’s leading material researchers in the field of theoretical modelling and the numerical simulation of complex materials and their underlying mechanisms. He has made ground-breaking scientific contributions, especially in various areas of theoretical mechanics, including on batteries and energy storage systems, piezoelectric actuator materials and complex contact mechanics. McMeeking has been working closely with the INM for over ten years. He currently coordinates a Humboldt Network, in which the INM is involved, on modelling bio-inspired adhesive technologies, and is closely involved with an international project within the Leibniz Competition system.

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  4. Prof. Fritz Melchers

    Fritz Melchers is the Leibniz Chair at the German Rheumatism Research Centre (DRFZ) in Berlin. He is one of the founders of the DRFZ. In 1987, under his chairmanship, an international group of experts submitted the concept of a rheumatism research centre to the Senate of Berlin. The proposal was implemented in 1988 with the establishment of the DRFZ. Its structure, a flat organisation with small, independent research groups, followed the model of the Basel Institute for lmmunology, which Melchers ran from 1980 to 2000. As a member of the DRFZ Foundation Board (1988 to 2003), Melchers opened up pioneering collaboration possibilities between the DRFZ, the Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology and the Charité Clinic for Rheumatology. Since 2017, he has been head of the Lymphocyte Development research group at the DRFZ.

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  5. Prof. William O’Reilly

    William O’Reilly is the Leibniz Chair at the German Maritime Museum – Leibniz Institute for Maritime History (DSM) in Bremerhaven. At the DSM he is involved in a number research projects, the development of a Transatlantic Mobility and Migration Department and a planned exhibition on the topic of ‘Bremerhaven and Migration’. O’Reilly’s research focuses on connections between Central European ports in the 19th century. The DSM offers the historian comprehensive archives and materials to investigate the importance of the ports in Bremen and Bremerhaven in the 19th century. O’Reilly is currently Senior Lecturer in Early Modern History at the University of Cambridge and is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and the Society of Arts.

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  6. Prof. Lucia A. Reisch

    Lucia A. Reisch is the Leibniz Chair at the Leibniz Institute for Prevention Research and Epidemiology (BIPS) and is a full professor at the Copenhagen Business School and a visiting professor at Zeppelin University in Friedrichshafen. Her research focuses on behavioural public policy, sustainable consumption and consumer policy. She became a life member of the National Academy of Science and Engineering (acatech) in 2017. Reisch has been closely associated with the BIPS since 2006, when she worked on the IDEFICS/I.Family project on the causes of lifestyle-related diseases. Among other things, she is currently supporting the Policy Evaluation Network (PEN), evaluating the approaches, implementation and effectiveness of policy measures to promote healthy eating and physical exercise in the population.

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  7. Prof. Darrell G. Schlom

    Darrell G. Schlom is the Leibniz Chair at the Leibniz Institute for Crystal Growth (IKZ) and is the Herbert Fisk Johnson Professor of Industrial Chemistry at Cornell University. Schlom came up with the idea of proposing rare earth scandate substrate crystals for a joint research project to establish ‘strain engineering’ in the ‘oxide world’ and research novel material properties in thin-film heterostructures. This pioneering work was presented to the scientific community in a joint Nature publication in 2002. Today, Schlom’s continuing collaboration with the IKZ has led to the emergence of an independent worldwide academic research landscape.

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  8. Prof. Giulio Tononi

    Giulio Tononi is the Leibniz Chair at the Leibniz Institute for Neurobiology (LIN) in Magdeburg. He is Director of the Center for Sleep and Consciousness at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and his research into consciousness and sleep has made considerable contributions to modern neuroscience. A qualified medical doctor, Tononi did his PhD on neuroscience and the regulation of sleep. His synaptic homoeostasis hypothesis claims that sleep renormalises synaptic strength. In his basic research on human consciousness, Tononi developed the integrated information theory, which describes what consciousness is and how it originates. Tononi has collaborated with LIN for many years, especially on questions of mind wandering and consciousness regulation. In his inaugural lecture as Leibniz Chair, he spoke about Gottfried Leibniz’s mill analogy of perception and consciousness.

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