Dr. Marta Antonelli receives the certificate from TUM President Prof. Dr. Thomas F. Hofmann.

On the first weekend of Advent 2023, Dr. Marta Antonelli was awarded the honorary title of TUM Ambassador by TUM President Prof. Dr. Thomas F. Hofmann. With this award, TUM recognizes top international scientists who have taught and researched at TUM as guests (Picture: Astrid Eckert/TUM).

Alumni doing research
TUM Ambassador Marta C. Antonelli
“My Hope Is, That My Research Could Help People”
02. Feb 2024
Reading time Min.
TUM Ambassador Dr. Marta Antonelli is the leading researcher at the National Scientific and Technical Research Council in Argentina and an internationally recognized top scientist in the field of neurochemistry. In 2016, she came to Munich for a research collaboration and has since been working with TUM scientists to help expectant mothers under stress and their unborn children.
If the body were an orchestra, then the brain and the nervous system would be the conductors – and Dr. Marta C. Antonelli, an observer in the audience, closely watches what the conductors are up to on stage. She is the head of the Laboratory of Perinatal Programming of Neurodevelopment at the Instituto de Biología Celular y Neurociencia “Prof. E. De Robertis” (Institute for Cell Biology and Neuroscience “Prof. E. De Robertis”), Faculty of Medicine, University of Buenos Aires, and refers to the brain as the “commander in chief” of the rest of the body.

Ever since her PhD in Neurochemistry at the University of Buenos Aires, she has been fascinated by the brain and all that comes with it: synapses that allow neurons to communicate, synaptic vesicles that occur at the endings of neurons and store neurotransmitters such as the hormone dopamine.

Marta Antonelli has extensively researched dopamine as one of the most important neurotransmitters of the brain: Where are the dopamine receptors located? How do they regulate themselves? Do they change under stress? What are the consequences of stress during pregnancy?

“I Want to Use My Knowledge for Advances in Human Health.”

Dr. Marta Antonelli


After her doctorate, Marta Antonelli conducted research at the University of Buenos Aires at different Institutes, including for example at the Faculty of Pharmacy and Biochemistry at the Instituto de Química y Fisicoquímica Biologicas (Institute of Chemistry and Biological Physicochemistry). She worked with animal models there for many years – the result: Much suggested that stress during pregnancy could cause significant changes in brain function and behavior in adolescent and adult rats. “However, my main interest was in preventive measures for pregnant mothers to avoid harmful consequences for offspring,” she says. The problem: Clinical research on humans on this topic was not funded in Argentina at that time.
Quote: “I want to use my knowledge for advances in human health.”

After some research, Marta Antonelli learned about a program in Germany that cared for expectant mothers from the beginning. She contacted one of the authors who introduced her to the then head of the Department of Perinatal Medicine at Klinikum rechts der Isar, Professor Dr. Karl-Theo Maria Schneider. Together with the chief senior physician of the Clinic and Polyclinic for Gynecology, Professor Dr. Silvia Lobmaier, Marta Antonelli developed a clinical research project in Munich. “It mainly crystalized a long-desired dream of applying my knowledge to advances in human health, specially during pregnancy” she says.


With an interdisciplinary team of obstetricians, psychologists, biologists, neurologists, statisticians as well as young medical students and researchers in the USA and Israel, they began their work. This was followed by a series of high-profile publications. Among other things, Marta Antonelli and her team found out how the effects of chronic stress on mother and child during pregnancy can be non-invasively detected. Based on this, they developed a project that brings together yoga and mindfulness programs for early detection and intervention with pregnant women. The project began in 2022 in collaboration with the TUM Professor Dr. Silvia Lobmaier and the Chair of Gynecology at TUM, Professor Dr. Marion Kiechle and continues.

Marta C. Antonelli with certificate and two people.

Dr. Marta C. Antonelli on the evening of her TUM Ambassador award ceremony. Her husband Manuel Gómez de Lima and her host Prof. Dr. Silvia Lobmaier from the Women's Clinic of TUM's Klinikum rechts der Isar are delighted with her (Picture: Astrid Eckert/TUM).


As an August-Wilhelm Scheer Visiting Professor and Hans Fischer Senior Fellow at the TUM Institute for Advanced Study (TUM-IAS), Marta Antonelli spent a total of 31 months in Munich. This time brought her not only closer to Bavarian cuisine but also introduced her to many people she knows and appreciates. With TUM Professor Dr. Ute Reuning she “treasured memorable moments around Bavaria” and she still likes to visit her when she is in Munich. TUM Professor Dr. Bettina Kuschel, the head of the Department of Obstetrics at Klinikum rechts der Isar, always encouraged and supported Marta Antonelli during her stays. “I also want to highlight the fact that the relationship with Dr. Lobmaier has exceeded merely the professional bond and has extended to mutual friendly appreciation,” says Antonelli.
At IAS events, Wednesday coffee talks, TUM-IAS Fellow lunches, workshops with colleagues, she came into contact with people from different countries: a physicist from India, an architect from Ukraine, mathematicians from Africa, and professors from Munich. At one of the first meetings, Marta Antonelli met another Hans Fischer Senior Fellow of Italian origin, Dr. Angela Casini. Antonelli convinced the current TUM professor to travel to Argentina to give a plenary lecture at the national conference of the Sociedad Argentina de Investigación en Neurociencia (Argentine Society for Neuroscience), of which Antonelli was the President of the Executive Council at that time.

TUM Ambassador Marta Antonelli, Helmholtz Center

Marta Antonelli has dedicated her life to researching the brain. The picture shows her in 2019 in a laboratory at the Helmholtz Zentrum in Munich during an experiment for her research project (Picture: private).


As a TUM Ambassador, Marta Antonelli wants to make TUM known in Argentina and strengthen the connection between the National Scientific and Technical Research Council (CONICET), where she works as a leading researcher, and the University of Buenos Aires with TUM. “The driving force that led me to devote my life to research was the idea that my studies could help humankind,” says Marta Antonelli. “This is more likely the more we cooperate with each other and mutually benefit from our experiences and insights. That’s why it’s important to me to further advance the networking between scientists worldwide.”

Portrait picture from Marta Antonelli.

TUM Ambassador Marta C. Antonelli (Picture: Astrid Eckert/TUM).

Marta Cristina Antonelli

TUM Ambassador 2023


Marta C. Antonelli earned her degree in biochemistry and her PhD in neurochemistry at the University of Buenos Aires in Argentina. After her PhD, she moved to the USA for a postdoctoral stay at the Veterans Administration Medical Center in Seattle and the University of Washington mentored by Dr. William L. Stahl.

She is currently the head of the Laboratory of Perinatal Programming of Neurodevelopment at the Faculty of Medicine, University of Buenos Aires. She is also the leading researcher at the National Scientific and Technical Research Council in Argentina (CONICET), which is affiliated with the Ministry of Science and Technology there. In the period 2022-2023, she was the president of the Executive Council of the SAN (Sociedad Argentina de Investigación en Neurociencia / Argentine Society for Neuroscience). During her term, she focused on federalizing the society, as neuroscience in Argentina is mainly concentrated in two of the 22 provinces. She is, at present, the President Elect of the International Society for Neurotoxicity.

Marta Antonelli has been associated with TUM since 2016 – twice through the August-Wilhelm Scheer Visiting Professor and as a TUM-IAS Hans Fischer Senior Fellow. During this time, she developed a translational project at the Clinic and Polyclinic for Gynecology at Klinikum rechts der Isar. It focused on investigating the long-term effects of prenatal stress on the development of children and identifying potential biomarkers for targeting early intervention programs in humans. In 2023, TUM President Prof. Dr. Thomas Hofmann awarded her the honorary title TUM Ambassador.