DZD NEXT Young Talent Program

The DZD NEXT Young Talent Program supports our young scientists within the DZD on their way to scientific independence. Young group leaders can apply with a scientific project every year. The grants are used to finance a postdoc for two years who will work on the project. 

DZD Young Talent Program 2024/25

Rebecca Ölkrug
Universität Lübeck

What is the main aim of the project? 

The aim of my project focuses is to decipher how changes in maternal thyroid hormone-choline interactions influence the fetal programming of metabolic health, with a particular emphasis on risk factors that promote the development of obesity and type II diabetes in the offspring. 

How is it relevant to the public? 

 My research findings can be translated into clinical practice and help to develop strategies that promote healthier pregnancies and improve the long-term health of the offspring, with the goal of reducing the risk of metabolic diseases in future generations. 

For me, the DZD means ... 

... a dynamic community that fosters dialog, collaboration and shared efforts towards a common goal - improving our understanding of diabetes. I am excited by the prospect of contributing to this collaborative network and being part of a joint initiative that has a significant impact on diabetes research. 

Maria Rohm
Helmholtz Munich

What is the main aim of the project?  

My project aims at defining a novel regulatory layer that modulates the function of pancreatic beta-cells. We have identified two transcriptional co-factors - TBL1 and TBLR1 - as central for the maintenance of functional beta-cells and thereby for the prevention of type 2 diabetes. The current project aims at characterizing the function of these molecules in greater detail.  

How is it relevant to the public?  

The precise regulatory machinery that controls the identity and functionality of pancreatic beta-cells is still under investigation, and many open questions remain, particularly regarding the fine-tuning of the transcriptional programs that mediate these events. This is relevant for the identification of novel drug targets counteracting diabetes, as well as the production of functional beta-cells in vitro for replacement therapies, in the future.  

For me, the DZD means …  

interacting with a great collaborative community dedicated to diabetes research all across Germany. 

Meriem Ouni
DIfE Potsdam

DZD NEXT Young Talent Program 2023/24

Bilgen Ekim Üstünel
Universität Heidelberg

What is the main aim of the project?

The aim of the project is to elucidate novel signaling pathways that cause metabolic dysfunction associated liver disease (MAFLD), which is tightly connected to  type 2 diabetes.  

How is it relevant to the public?

MAFLD affects around 25% of the general population and is associated with morbidity and increased mortality . Hence, a better understanding of underlying molecular mechanisms that cause MAFLD will pave the way to develop novel therapies for its treatment.   

For me, DZD means ...

... a great opportunity for young scientist to get immense support to establish their own research goals as well as to get  connected to the senior experts in the field for exchanging ideas and initiating collaborations. 

Mostafa Bakhti
Helmholtz Munich

DZD Young Talent Program 2020/21

Rachel Lippert
DIfE Potsdam

What is the main aim of the project? 

Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) is rapidly increasing in prevalence and treatment options are limited for a disease that needs to be controlled rapidly. We wanted to explore further the long lasting implications of treatment with metformin during periods of early development, and the consequences of this exposure to the developing offspring. 

How is it relevant to the public? 

One out of every 10 pregnant people will suffer from GDM in Europe, and this number is increasing. If we do not focus critically on treatment options, and specifically healthy treatment options for both the mother AND the offspring, we may be setting up the next generation for metabolic failure. 

For me, the DZD means ... 

A community of researchers working together for a purpose. It has been so great to meet the scientists across Germany focusing on this central goal of tackling a diabetes together from so many aspects! 

Maximilian Kleinert
DIfE Potsdam

Stephanie Kullmann
IDM Tübingen

Teresa Rodriguez-Calvo
Helmholtz Munich

Next call

The call is open until May 15th, 2024.

More information and application forms are available at


Dr. Leonie Herrmann


+49 (0)89 3187-48840