Margret Schottelius - 3 Questions
Associate Professor Margret Schottelius took up her activities as Head of the Translational radiopharmaceutical sciences laboratory, located in the AGORA, in September 2019. One of the first laboratories to occupy the third floor of this building, Pr Schottelius’ group will work on developing novel targeted radiopharmaceuticals for molecular imaging and therapy in the context of immune-oncology. Pr Schottelius’s role is one that is part of the Service of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging of the Medical Radiology Department; she is also affiliated to the Department of oncology and the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research.
Her group currently includes one PhD student and one recently hired postdoctoral fellow. The group will also benefit from the support of Dr David Viertl, PhD, who underpins the pre-clinical evaluation process and has been responsible for micro PET imaging at the CHUV since 2014, as well as that of Judith Delage, radio pharmacist at the CHUV, for rapid implementation and clinical translation of novel tracers. A generous donation from the Loterie Romande, concluded via the unflinching support of the Fondation CHUV, will allow the forthcoming installation of a further micro PET/CT within the AGORA, an imaging tool that will be central to the group’s work.
Pr Schottelius is also vice-chair of the Translational molecular imaging and therapy committee of the European Association of Nuclear Medicine (EANM) and member of the editorial board of the EJNMMI Research. Away from work, Pr Schottelius is mother to three children (10, 12 and 15 years old) and is very much looking forward to her first winter season closer to the Alps than she has ever been.
- What does this nomination represent for you in the context of your career so far?
An important step, an exciting challenge and a great honour. Having spent my entire academic career up to now in Munich, the opportunity to come to Lausanne and to build my own group at the AGORA has been a tremendous impetus for my scientific and personal life, and I am delighted to have taken that step.
- What are the challenges you’ll be facing in your new responsibilities?
One challenge will certainly be to rapidly create a network of collaborations across within the AGORA, LICR and CHUV, providing the basis for top-notch tracer development as well as for clinical transfer of these developments. I learnt throughout my career that sharing my own expertise and collaborating with partners who can provide complementary knowledge and methodologies is the heart and core of successful research, making the “whole more than the sum of its parts”. Thus, my focus for the months to come will be on working according to this concept also in my new lab.
- What are your long-term professional perspectives & objectives?
The primary objective will be to exploit the exciting and powerful modern molecular imaging technologies to their full potential by complementing them with tailor-made, targeted radiopharmaceuticals. Using this - by nature - highly translation approach, I will try to optimally support the ongoing efforts within the SCCL to unravel the many facets of immune-oncology by means of in vivo visualization of relevant mechanisms with true prognostic value. Ultimately, this added information will hopefully lead to improved cancer therapies.
- Who are the mentors in your professional environment that have supported you and whose help you would like to recognise today?
My deepest gratitude goes to Pr Hans-Jürgen Wester who has been my mentor, teacher and friend during my entire time in Munich. His way of perceiving, forming and “living” radiopharmaceutical research has always been an inspiration for me, and will remain so. I am also most grateful to Professors Coukos, Prior and Schaefer for their continuous support and the very warm welcome they and their colleagues have extended to me since my arrival – I am very much looking forward to our future years of joint research.
- Which leadership role would you like to play with your colleagues & team?
My ambition is always to instill fascination and passion for radiopharmaceutical research; it fuels the necessary motivation to get through the unavoidable hard work and eventual setbacks. I strive to set a clear framework of scientific direction and work ethics, all the while providing enough space for each group member to develop their own ideas. My role is very much to appreciate and foster each individual’s strengths and provide unrestricted support where needed.