Prof. Dr. Maren von Köckritz-Blickwede studied biology at the University of Hanover. During this time, she spent one year at the Universidad Nacional de Heredia, Costa Rica, where she performed epidemiological studies about vesicular stomatitis viruses in horses in Costa Rica. In 2001 she completed her Diplom research studies with the title “Isolation and characterization of metabolically competent pulmonary epithelial cells from pig and rat lung tissue for the use in biotransformation and toxicity studies” at the Fraunhofer Institute for Toxicology and Experimental Medicine in Hanover, Germany.
After graduation, she started a Ph.D. research fellowship of the DFG-graduate school "Mucosal Host-Pathogen Interactions" at the Federal Agricultural Research Centre for Animal Science in Neustadt-Mariensee, Germany. The topic of her PhD thesis was: “Antibiotic-dependent modulation of staphylococcal virulence properties”. She received her Dr. rer. nat. title in December 2004 at the University of Veterinary Medicine in Hannover, Germany.
After that she spent three years as a PostDoc at the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research in Braunschweig, Germany, where she studied the role of host genetic and immune factors involved in the susceptibility and resistance against Streptococcus pyogenes and Staphylococcus aureus infections. During this time she discovered that mast cells have the ability to kill bacterial pathogens by the formation of antimicrobial extracellular traps (Blood, 2008).
Based on this work, she obtained a prestigious grant from the Deutsche Akademie der Naturforscher Leopoldina to study the role of extracellular traps during bacterial infections, to identify bacterial strategies that avoid entrapment and killing by these structures, and to search for novel pharmacological agents that boost the formation of extracellular traps. She performed these studies from September 2008 until June 2010 in the laboratory of Prof. Victor Nizet, at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, La Jolla, California. Her research shed new light on the importance of extracellular traps in host defense and provides new therapeutic opportunities to enhance the local innate immune response against bacterial infections.
Since July 2010 Dr. Maren von Köckritz-Blickwede is leading the research group Infection Biochemistry at the Department of Physiological Chemistry and is continuing her research on the host innate immune defense (with special focus on extracellular traps) as therapeutic target against bacterial infections. In February 2015 she received the position as a full professor for Biochemistry of Infection at the Department of Physiological Chemistry and the Research Center for Emerging Infections (RIZ), TiHo.
Since April 2019 Prof. Dr. Maren von Köckritz-Blickwede has been "Director for Scientific Administration and Biosafety" at the RIZ of TiHo.