Since 2016, Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Dirk Heckl has been a fellow of the Max-Eder Program (German Cancer Aid) and led a junior research group focused on functional genomics in leukemogenesis. In 2019, Prof. Heckl became the head of Experimental Pediatrics at the Martin-Luther-University in Halle (Saale). As of September 2023 Prof. Heckl moved to Frankfurt to take his new position as director of the institute for experimental paediatric haematology and oncology. His research focuses on the complex interplay between oncogenic events during the malignant transformation process. Through the application of genome engineering approaches for disease modelling and drug target discovery, his aim is to advance our understanding of acute myeloid leukemias and treatment options for this disease.
Dirk Heckl studied Plant Biotechnology (B.Sc., Leibniz University Hannover), Biomedicine (M.Sc., Hannover Medical School), and graduated with a Dr. rer. nat from the Molecular Medicine PhD program at Hannover Medical School. During his doctoral thesis, he investigated gene therapy approaches for congenital amegakaryocytic thrombocytopenia (CAMT), and completed an internship at the Boston Children’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School (Boston, MA, USA) in the laboratory of Prof. David Williams. For his postdoctoral thesis, Dirk returned to Boston and investigated the molecular basis of leukemogenesis in the laboratory of Prof. Benjamin Ebert (Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, MA, USA). There, he entered the field of genome editing and functional genomics, in which his research group now proceeds with technology- and application-driven approaches.