Carl-Zeiss endowed professorship for systems toxicology awarded to the University of Konstanz

Funding for a new professorship in the Department of Biology in the amount of 1.12 million euros

The Carl-Zeiss Foundation provides funding for a new endowed systems toxicology professorship in the University of Konstanz’s Department of Biology. Traditional toxicological testing focuses on the description of the observable effects of pollutants. The new systems toxicology professorship will measure many thousands of molecular changes in the precision control of cells and organs (and more). This data will serve to create mathematical models to predict the effects of pollutants on the organism as a whole. The W3 professor for systems toxicology will investigate network responses of cells, organs and organisms to pollutants, evaluate them using bio-informatics and develop predictive models for both known and as yet unknown toxins.

The systems toxicology professorship will receive funding in the amount of 1.12 million euros for five years from the Carl-Zeiss Foundation and will be integrated into the University of Konstanz's research priority in toxicology as well as the “Konstanz Centre for Toxicology and Health Protection” (KCTP), which is currently in its founding stages. The centre will bring together the university’s three “Health Protection” professorships, the International Centres for Alternatives to Animal Testing (CAAT and CAAT-EU) and the new systems toxicology professorship. The new professorship will also make a major contribution to the “ChemLife” cluster initiative, a joint research project involving the fields of chemistry, biology and computer and information science, the Konstanz Research School Chemical Biology and the Collaborative Research Centre “Chemical and Biological Principles of Cellular Proteostasis” (SFB 969). It will above all investigate systemic changes to biochemical networks of cells, tissue and organisms that were caused by chemical compounds. By helping create mathematical models of the protective as well as harmful effects of chemicals on biological networks, the incumbent will fulfil a key role in the modelling of harmful effects.

“Receiving funding for this professorship is a huge success for the University of Konstanz and for the Department of Biology”, says Professor Ulrich Rüdiger, Rector of the University of Konstanz. “Our university is very highly regarded for its research in toxicology and health protection both nationally and internationally. The new professorship is a wonderful affirmation of our work in this field and provides us with the means of developing this research priority even further”.

Apart from interdisciplinary collaboration with other University of Konstanz institutions, the endowed professorship will also enable close collaboration with external partners such as the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR), the Swiss Centre for Applied Human Toxicology, BASF SE and Bayer AG.


  • Carl-Zeiss endowed professorship for the University of Konstanz’s Department of Biology
  • The systems toxicology professorship is part of the “Konstanz Centre for Toxicology and Health Protection” (KCTP)
  • Funding amount: 1,120,000 million euros for five years
  • Collaboration partners: German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR), Albstadt-Sigmaringen University, Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd, Swiss Centre for Applied Human Toxicology, BASF SE, Boehringer Ingelheim Pharma GmbH and Bayer AG