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©Beate Lichtenberger

Beate M. Lichtenberger

Principal Investigator

Medical University of Vienna
Department of Dermatology
Anna Spiegel Center of Translational Research
A-1090 Vienna, Lazarettgasse 14

Room: BT 25.2, Level 4, Lab 6-7

Phone: +43 (0)1 40400-73786 or 73537 (office)        
Phone: +43 (0)1 40400-73806 or 73809 (lab)


ORCID: 0000-0001-6882-0257

Beate M. Lichtenberger obtained her PhD from the University of Vienna in 2009. She completed her doctorate studies in Genetics and Microbiology under the supervision of Prof. Maria Sibilia at the Institute of Cancer Research in Vienna, where she addressed how EGFR, VEGFR and ITGB1 signaling cooperate in epidermal stem cells to promote cancer and control immune responses of the skin. In 2011, Beate joined the lab of Prof. Fiona Watt, one of the world-leading labs in skin and stem cell biology, at the University in Cambridge and later at King’s College London as a postdoctoral fellow. She dissected niche signaling in the skin, and identified that skin dermis comprises two fibroblast lineages with different functions in skin physiology and pathology. Since April 2016 she is a principal investigator at the Department of Dermatology at the Medical University of Vienna. Her lab addresses the impact of distinct fibroblast subsets on skin development and physiology, and how their targeting affects regeneration, cancer progression, fibrotic skin diseases, and skin aging.

Beate has received numerous awards and honors including: Beverly McKinnel Award 2006, Boehringer Ingelheim Fonds PhD Fellowship, THP Research Award 2010, sanofi-aventis Research Award 2010, EMBO and FEBS Long-term Fellowships, Heinz Maurer Award for Dermatological Research 2014, Award for Innovative Cancer Research from the City of Vienna 2014, the Unilever Award/ Austrian Dermatology Award 2016 and the Research Award 2018 of the Austrian Society of Dermatology and Venereology (ÖGDV), and the LEO Foundation Award 2021.    

Beate @ ORCID  
Beate @ pubmed

Bertram Aschenbrenner

Molecular Biology Student

Studied Molecular biology at the University of Vienna, Austria and performed his master studies in the laboratory of Manuela Baccarini analyzing CRaf - Rok-α Interaction. During his PhD studies in the research group of Ira-Ida Skvortsova, Department of Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology, Medical University of Innsbruck, Austria he dissected Radioresistance mechanisms of mesenchymal breast carcinoma cells.

Bertram joined our team in January 2022 as a PostDoc. He uses mass cytometry imaging, 2D and 3D cell culture systems, and developed skin cancer organoids harboring native tumor stroma to assess different immunomodulatory functions of cancer-associated fibroblasts.

Bertram @ ORCID
Bertram @ pubmed

Agnes Forsthuber

Post-Doctoral Fellow

Studied Biotechnology at BOKU Wien and joined the lab of Prof. Hans-Reimer Rodewald at the German Cancer Research Institute (DKFZ) in Heidelberg for her master thesis on tissue resident macrophages. Further, she did her doctoral studies on CXCL5 and neutrophils in the disease progression of cutaneous melanoma under the supervision of Prof. Robert Loewe at the Medical University of Vienna. She obtained her PhD in skin cancer research in 2018. She joined the Lichtenberger Lab as a PostDoc and addresses fibroblast heterogeneity and its function in non-melanoma and melanoma skin cancer, and how fibroblast fate decisions are controlled during skin development, homeostasis and in fibrotic skin diseases.


Sophie Frech

Research Associate

Sophie @ ORCID

Sophie @ pubmed

Sophie Frech studied Medicine at the Medical University of Vienna, where she investigated the role of PI3K in Multiple Sclerosis during her diploma thesis internship at the Institute of Physiology before graduating in 2016. Sophie started her PhD thesis as an ÖAW fellow in the Lichtenberger Lab in 2017, where she focused her research on the role of different CAF subsets in the pathogenesis and metastasis of cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma as well as on the role of Hh signaling in wound-healing induced hair follicle development. Next to her specialization training in dermatology, which she started in 2021, Sophie continues dissecting fibroblast functions in skin diseases in our lab.

Daria Kholodniuk

MSc Student in Immunobiology

Studied genetics and biotechnology at the University of Tartu in Estonia and is currently pursuing an MSc in Immunobiology at the University of Vienna. She is presently working as a master's student in the Lichtenberger Lab, focusing her thesis on the potential of fibroblasts and CAFs to induce an immune response in skin cancer.


Natalia Krajic

MSc Student in Molecular Precision Medicine

Studied Biotechnology and is currently pursuing a MSc in Molecular Precision Medicine at the Medical University of Vienna. She joined the lab as a summer student in 2022, and started her master thesis addressing the role of CAF-derived ECM proteins in skin cancer in April 2023.

Kim Purkhauser

Technical assistent

After obtaining her BSc degree in Molecular Biology in 2016, Kim Purkhauser continued her studies in Molecular Biology at the University of Vienna. She joined the Lichtenberger Lab as a lab technician and research assistant in 2022. Apart from technical assistance in different projects, she addresses how epigenetic modifications affect fibroblasts and subsequently skin aging.


Shaohua Zhu

postdoctoral fellow

Received his Bachelor degree in Life Sciences from Anhui Normal University and his Master degree in Cell Biology from the University of Science and Technology of China, uncovering the role of the cell cycle regulator p18 during mouse somatic cell reprogramming.  He pursued his PhD thesis in the laboratory of Yuval Rinkevich at the Helmholtz Centre in Munich, where he developed Adeno-associated viruses (AAV) vectors for therapeutic gene delivery to transform cutaneous wound healing into regeneration with reduced scar formation by targeting fibroblasts. He joined the lab in April 2023. In his postdoctoral studies he dissects if targeting HDACs is an efficient way to treat fibrosis and to improve wound repair.


Ana Korosec studied Molecular Biology at the University of Vienna and obtained her Master’s degree in 2013. She worked as a research technician at CeMM for 2.5 years. From 2016 until 2021, Ana worked as a staff scientist in the Lichtenberger Lab.    
Ana @ pubmed         

Katharina Lipp studied Biotechnology at the University of Applied Sciences Tulln. After obtaining her Master’s degree, she worked as a Lab Technician at the Max F. Perutz Laboratories in Vienna for 1 year. In 2014, she started working as Technical Assistant at the Medical University of Vienna, Dept. of Dermatology in the lab of Robert Loewe. She joined the the Lichtenberger Lab from Nov 2018 until May 2021.     
Katharina @ pubmed

Viktor Kozumov studied nutrition science and is pursuing a MSc in molecular cell biology at the University of Vienna. He pursued his master thesis in the Lichtenberger lab addressing the role of HDACs in skin fibroblast fate decisions and fibrotic skin diseases (03/2020-04/2021).
Viktor @ pubmed

Tobias Günter is a medical student at the Medical University of Vienna and joined our lab to conduct a wetlab master thesis in dermatology. His project dissected the function of HDACs in skin fibrosis.