Candidate for Council – 2021 ICIS Leadership Election

Burkhard Becher, PhD
Institute of experimental Immunology
University of Zurich, Zürich, Switzerland

Burkhard Becher studied Biology at the University of Cologne in Germany and specialized in Molecular Genetics and Biochemistry. In 1995, for his graduate studies he went to the Montreal Neurological Inst. at McGill University in Canada to train in Neuroimmunology with Jack Antel. His work focused on the role of microglia cells as brain-resident myeloid cells capable of instructing self-reactive T cells in the context of autoimmune neuro-inflammation. In 1999 he joined the lab of Randy Noelle at the Dartmouth Medical School to extend his work to in vivo models and transgenic mice. He developed tools to specifically manipulate microglial cells in vivo during inflammation. Burkhard’s focus is the function of cytokines and how these molecules permit cell-cell communication between immune cells. In 2003, he was recruited as Assistant Professor to the Neurology Department at the University Hospital of Zurich. There he continued to define the cytokine networks in inflammation. Since 2008, Burkhard Becher is professor and chairman at the Institute of Experimental Immunology at the University of Zurich and heads the Unit for Inflammation Research. He is the 2021 winner of the Johann Anton Merck Award in recognition of his work in the field of Neuroimmunology and Cancer using state of the art immunophenotyping and single cell technologies which enable a better understanding of disease mechanisms and treatment effects as well as his groundbreaking contribution over the past 25 years to the field of Neuroinflammation and innate & adaptive immune mechanisms driving Neurodegeneration in Multiple Sclerosis and Alzheimer disease.