Since 2004 PD Dr. Birgit Schäfer has been the Head of the Cell culture laboratory Geistlich Pharma AG, which excels in producing medical devices comprising natural bone substitute materials as well as collagen matrices for the dental and orthopedic markets. Her current research topic is the analysis of cell-biomaterial interactions.
Upon completion of studies in human medicine in 1993 at the University of Heidelberg PD Dr. Birgit Schäfer started her career at the Institute of Immunology in Heidelberg working in the blood bank. However, intrigued by immune and inflammatory processes, she joined the Laboratory of Immunopathology focusing on the diagnostics of autoimmune/rheumatoid diseases. In parallel she had the opportunity to work at the Hygiene Institute becoming familiar with the principles of human viral and bacterial infections. In 1999 she was promoted to the Head of the Laboratory of Immunopathology. Her scientific interests at that time comprised the autoimmune driven activation reaction of keratinocytes, the plasminogen activator system and tissue engineering. The autoimmune driven activation reaction of keratinocytes was the topic of her habilitation. Transmitting knowledge has always been important to her, so she participated in a study-course for university didactics. Her teaching experiences at the University of Heidelberg comprised lecturing, practical studies and problem orientated learning (POL). Mrs. Schäfer is still participating in teaching at the Institute of Immunology in Heidelberg and holds the Venia Docendi in Immunology.