Mission Statement


Research at the Division of Pharmacology and Toxicology is driven by the motivation to decipher the dynamic mechanisms underlying aging and disease, such as chronic pain. To this end, we combine a diverse set of methods ranging from molecular biology and biochemistry,  electrophysiology,  primary cell culture and preclinical mouse models to molecular modelling and quantitative proteomics. Our goal is to identify novel therapeutic targets that have the potential to improve current treatments of studied diseases.



Manuela Schmidt receives research funding from the Science Fund of the Austrian Pain Society (ÖSG)


The Austrian Pain Society ÖSG fosters basic and clinical pain research and this year, for the first...





Congratulations for Prof Studenik group for getting the highly cited paper in International Journal of molecular sciences for the year 2023.

The paper title is:

Impact of Enniatin B and Beauvericin on Lysosomal Cathepsin B Secretion and Apoptosis Induction.




Congratulations to Ramadan Abdelaziz for finishing his PhD in pharmacy under the supervision of Prof Christian Studenik and Dr.Mohammed Aufy as TAC member.
Ramadan PhD title is: Molecular Investigations: Targeting Cysteine Cathepsins for Enhancing Cancer Therapy and Radiation Sensitivity.

The defense was hold on 15.03.2024 with joining of

1- Francisco J. Monje
Assoc. Prof. Priv.-Doz. Dr. Professor (Associate) at Medical University of Vienna Austria.

2- Ass.-Prof. Dr. Florian Kopp University of Vienna
Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Clinical Pharmacy Group.

3- Prof. PharmDr. Přemysl Mladěnka
The Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Faculty of Pharmacy in Hradec Králové, Charles University, 50005, Hradec Králové, Czechia.the defense was hold with the presence of  Assoc. Prof. Dr. Elke H. Heiß Division of Pharmacognosy. University of Vienna as Study Programme Director Doctoral Studies in Pharmacy, Nutritional Sciences and Sports Science.

"We congratulate Ramadan and wish him all the best for his future career!"


Congratulations to Ramadan Abdelaziz (PhD student, laboratory of Christian Studenik) he is the winner of the best talk award in 41st Winter School on Proteinases and Inhibitors in Tiers, Italy.
28 February- 03 March 2024- on site in Tiers.

All information are included in the photo.



The installation of our new tims Tof HT has been successfully finished. This is part of a Collaboration Agreement between Bruker Daltonics and the University of Vienna, directed by David Gomez Varela PhD. We are excited about the new biology this state-of-the-art instrument will enable us to unlock. (Photo, left to right: David Gomez Varela PhD, Astrid Goetz (Bruker), and Feng Xian PhD).

Die Installation unseres neuen tims Tof HT ist erfolgreich abgeschlossen worden. Dies ist Teil eines Kooperationsabkommens zwischen Bruker Daltonics und der Universität Wien unter der Leitung von Dr. David Gomez Varela. Wir freuen uns auf die neue Biologie, die uns dieses hochmoderne Instrument ermöglichen wird. (Foto, von links nach rechts: David Gomez Varela PhD, Astrid Goetz (Bruker) und Feng Xian PhD).


new publication from the Weinzinger group in Frontiers of Physiology:



Newly published work with contribution from Mohammed Aufy under the title:

Targeting the NF-κB p65/Bcl-2 signaling pathway in hepatic cellular carcinoma using radiation assisted synthesis of zinc nanoparticles coated with naturally isolated gallic acid



News from the working group of Prof. Studenik


We recently published 3 papers. The first one is focusing on the role of some lysosomal proteases on processing and activation of epithelial sodium ion channel (ENaC), second and third publications are focusing on the role of two lysosomal peptidases on the resistance of some cancer cells to radiotherapy.

1- pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/38139392/

2- pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/38069428/

3- pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/38003335/


New article published in Comprehensive Physiology with contribution

from Ass.-Prof. Marietta Zille:

Environmental Enrichment for Stroke and Traumatic Brain Injury: Mechanisms and Translational Implications



Congratulations to Sabrina Grundtner (PhD student, laboratory of Manuela Schmidt) for being awarded the  "Best Oral Poster Communication"-Prize for presenting her project

"Sex- and Age-DependentProteome Dynamics of Neuropathic Pain in Mice" at the 13th Congress of the European Pain Federation EFIC 2023 in Budapest, Hungary.


Best Student Awards for Bachelor's & Master's diplomas

As part of this year's Pharmacy Day, Hannah Vera Breuß (Supervisor Christian Studenik, Division Pharmacology and Toxicology) received the ÖPhG-Pharma-Bachelor Award. Johanna Poglitsch (Supervisor Christian Studenik, Division Pharmacology and Toxicology) and David Steiner (Supervisor Manuela Schmidt, Division Pharmacology and Toxicology) were awarded with the Maria-Kuhnert-Brandstätter Award. The awards were sponsored by the Austrian Pharmaceutical Society (ÖPhG) and were handed over by their president Helmut Viernstein.



New Original research from Our Division (AG Schmidt) published in Frontiers in Microbiology


We described a new state-of-the-art methodology for the characterization of the host-microbiome interactions in patho-physiological conditions.



New article from the group of Ass.-Prof. Zille published in Biomedicine & Pharmacotherapy:


A systematic review of the cell death mechanisms in retinal pigment epithelium cells and photoreceptors after subretinal hemorrhage – Implications for treatment options





New article published in Neuroprotection with contribution from Ass.-Prof. Marietta Zille:




Preserving cognitive function in patients with Alzheimer's disease: The Alzheimer's disease neuroprotection research initiative (ADNRI)



New article from our Division accepted in Elife

Development and validation of COEWS (COVID-19 Early Warning Score) for hospitalized COVID-19 with laboratory features: a multicontinental retrospective study


Early warning systems (EWS) are important clinical tools because they can help to identify patients who are at risk of deterioration and need urgent intervention. This is especially important for COVID-19 patients, who can rapidly deteriorate and require mechanical ventilation. The most extended model use worldwide is the NEWS2. A new study directed by Dr. David Gomez Varela created and validate a new EWS named COEWS, which has better prediction performance than NEWS2 when validated with independent patient populations from different continents.



Neues Paper in Nature Communications + aktuelle Pressemitteilung:

Cooperation in Pharmacology Education – a bilateral exchange with Charles University Prague


In December, a delegation of the Division of Pharmacology and Toxicology visited the Department of Pharmacology, 2nd Faculty of Medicine of the Charles University Prague (headed by Prof. Eva Kmoníčková) to exchange ideas about innovative teaching strategies in Pharmacology. Univ.-Prof. Manuela Schmidt, Ass.-Prof. Marietta Zille, Master student Anna Szorger, and Bachelor student Ina Vujica represented the University of Vienna. The exchange was facilitated by a workshop grant of the Central European Network for Teaching and Research in Academic Liaison (CENTRAL).

Among other topics, the Czech colleagues presented an innovative simulator (SimMan) which allows the use of pharmacological scenarios in teaching. The students can observe physiological functions and disease phenotypes of the patient simulator (incl. breathing, pupil reactions, bleeding, vomiting, changes in blood pressure, etc.), apply various drugs at different dosages and observe their effect over time. This hands-on experience greatly aids the students in applied understanding of disease phenotypes and pharmacological effects.

Ina Vujica and Marietta Zille presented their practice and research on activating teaching and learning strategies in Pharmacology. Based on the B11 pharmacokinetics lecture of the summer semester 2022, they evaluated the lectures with questionnaires and the exam results. They showed that the use of interactive teaching methods improved understanding, learning success, concentration, motivation, peer learning, and self-confidence of the students and that the lectures were highly enjoyed by the students.

The very fruitful exchange of competence-based teaching will continue during the planned visit of the Czech delegation at the University of Vienna in 2023.





Our latest paper is online @eLife. We underscore the importance of proper experimental design, and, in particular, considering age and sex when using pre-clinical mouse models of disease. Enjoy reading!

Deep proteome profiling reveals signatures of age and sex differences in paw skin and sciatic nerve of naïve mice


Our latest work characterizing the transcriptome and proteome of highly relevant nociceptors has been published in Frontiers Molecular Neuroscience. CONGRATULATIONS to all authors and the great team of collaborators at UCL (University College London)!


Transcriptomic and proteomic profiling of NaV1.8-expressing mouse nociceptors; doi.org/10.3389/fnmol.2022.1002842


Early warning system forecasts who needs critical care for COVID-19

An international team leaded by our Senior scientist Dr. David Gomez-Varela have design and validate an algorithm the can accurately predict which hospitalised patients are at the highest risk of death and require critical care, regardless of immune protection status and virus variant.


Can primary nociceptive neurons “learn”?

An exciting talk by Prof. Dr. Tim Hucho from the University Hospital Cologne, Germany.

Wednesday, 18th May 2022, 5:00 pm (seminar room 2D358)



Our Division can offer support for Msc and PhD students as well as faculty members. We can offer 3 months of bridging salary in addition to including you in our active research in the context of "systems biology of pain".  Therefore, we could accommodate researchers with interest/knowledge of bioinformatics in general, and in multi-omic data analysis in particular. Both in-person as well as remote work are possible. For further information regarding your arrival in Vienna, please consult the following webpage: www.bbu.gv.at/ukraine. This webpage hosts information for Ukrainian Citizens in Austria including hotlines, information on arriving in Vienna/Austria, information on accommodation in Austria and further useful facts.


Our latest work about Chemotherapy-Induced Peripheral Neuropathy (CIPN) and associated proteome dynamics has been published in Frontiers Pharmacology. CONGRATULATIONS to all authors and the great team of collaborators!

“Proteome and Network Analysis Provides Novel Insights Into Developing and Established Chemotherapy-Induced Peripheral Neuropathy”




Our latest work about neuroimmune interactions in the context of neuropathic pain has been published in Cell Reports. CONGRATULATIONS to all authors and the great team of collaborators!

“Tmem160 contributes to the establishment of discrete nerve injury-induced pain behaviors in male mice”



In November 2021, David Gomez Varela PhD has joined our division as a Senior Scientist. Building on his experience in different leading positions (most recently as a Max Planck group leader: gomezvarelalab.em.mpg.de), David will establish and surveil interdisciplinary research projects to better understand the etiology and pathophysiology underlying aging and disease.


In October 2021, Assistant Professor Marietta Zille, PhD has joined our division. Her lab aims to better understand the etiology and pathophysiology of cerebrovascular disease and brain aging to identify novel druggable targets and to develop innovative therapies for prevention, cytoprotection, regeneration, and recovery of motor and cognitive function.


New research direction at our Department: From September 2020 on the research group of Prof. Manuela Schmidt will join our Department. Our new research group will use systems biology to address somatosensation in health, development (aging) and disease (chronic pain). Further information will follow.


New FWF Zukunftskolleg focuses on peptide drug candidates


"Dr. Eva-Maria Plessl ist Teil des vom FWF bewilligten Projekts "PeptAIDes", welches auf dem Gebiet der präklinischen Entwicklung von Peptidtherapeutika arbeitet mit dem Ziel, eine innovative Plattform für interdisziplinäre Wirkstoffentwicklung aufzubauen, neue therapeutische Ansätze zu entwickeln und Arzneistoffkandidaten für die weitere klinische Entwicklung zur Verfügung zu stellen."

Ein Rosiglitazon-Molekül gebunden an einen Ionenkanal. Anna Weinzinger und ihr Team nutzten diesen Arzneistoff, um neue Therapiemöglichkeiten für seltene Ionenkanalerkrankungen zu finden (© Anna Weinzinger).