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Leverkusen, October 17, 2016 – The winners of the Bayer Early Excellence in Science Award 2016 have been announced. The prizes, each worth EUR 10,000, have been awarded by an independent scientific committee of the Bayer Science & Education Foundation. The Bayer foundation presents for the sevens time the international Bayer Early Excellence in Science Award to excellent young scientists in the early stages of their academic careers.
“Research and science excellence play a central role for the life science company Bayer. I am delighted that these prizes give us the opportunity to support and motivate outstanding talents in science,” said Kemal Malik, member of the Board of Management of Bayer AG responsible for Innovation, and member of the Board of Directors of the foundation. “Bayer’s innovation strategy has a long-standing history for exchange and partnership with academia. The promotion of up-coming scientists is an important element in our program. This early dialogue opens strategic partnership opportunities and thus is a key to future success of applied research,” continued Malik.
This international prize was first presented in 2009. It is awarded in the three categories biology, chemistry and medical science. The selection is made on the basis of the originality and quality of candidates’ research and the significance of this work for the respective award category.
Structural studies to understand the machinery of cellular signalling
The machinery of life is extremely fragile, and exists at an incredibly small scale. Dr. Aylett’s research has focused on visualising this machinery to allow us to understand how it functions at a molecular level through the application of powerful x-ray beams and electron microscopes. He pursued his Ph. D. at the University of Cambridge under the supervision of Dr. Jan Loewe, working on understanding how bacterial and archaeal cells move cargo around within themselves by constructing protein filaments, and now works at ETH Zuerich in the laboratory of Professor Dr. Nenad Ban, where he has managed to uncover the architecture of key complexes involved in the production of proteins, and in cell growth signalling. His latest work on the target of the immunosuppressant drug Rapamycin in mammals, in collaboration with researchers from the Maier and Hall laboratories in Basel, has led to a new working model for the mechanism of action of this important protein complex, implicated in cancer, obesity and neurodegeneration.
Green Catalysis: sustainable transformation of hydrocarbons and polyols into high-added value building blocks
Bill Morandi studied at the ETH Zurich from 2003 to 2008, earning a B.Sc. in Biology and a M.Sc. in Chemical Biology as an Oskar-Jeger Scholar. As a doctoral student supported by the Swiss Chemical Industry Funds in the Laboratory of Prof. Erick M. Carreira, he then developed new, safer synthetic methodologies using in situ generated diazo compounds. In 2012, he moved to the California Institute of Technology to work under the guidance of Prof. Robert H. Grubbs as a Swiss National Science Foundation postdoctoral fellow, where he focused on catalytic oxidation reactions. In 2014, Dr. Morandi was awarded an independent Max Planck Research Group Leader position by the Max Planck Society. He founded and currently leads the “Homogeneous Catalysis and Reaction Design” group at the Max-Planck-Institut für Kohlenforschung in Mülheim/Ruhr, Germany. His independent research program targets the development of new concepts in catalysis, with a particular emphasis on employing inexpensive and sustainable catalysts to transform broadly available feedstocks, such as polyols and hydrocarbons, into valuable building blocks for applications in medicine and materials science.
Tumor Immunotherapy: Development of mutationspecific vaccines for patients with gliomas
Theresa Bunse, Ph. D. is postdoc in the department of Neuroimmunology and Brain Tumor Immunology led by Prof. Michael Platten at the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) in Heidelberg. Mrs. Bunse finished her Master of Science (MSc) degree in Molecular Biomedicine at the Westfälische Wilhelms-University Münster and the Max-Planck-Institute (MPI) for Molecular Biomedicine in 2009 and received her Ph. D. in the department of Prof. Platten in 2014. At the DKFZ, Mrs. Bunse works on the development of immunotherapies for brain tumor patients. In her Ph. D., she developed a specific therapeutic vaccine for this type of cancer. The result of this work was not only two first authorships in high-ranking journals, but also a clinical study to test this vaccine. Mrs. Bunse, as analytical project manager of this clinical trial, is responsible for the immunological monitoring of patients included in the trial. Her research is now focused on the optimization of immunotherapeutic and vaccine-based treatment options for patients with brain tumors.
The prize is awarded by the Bayer Science & Education Foundation. The primary objectives of the foundation are the recognition of outstanding research achievements, the promotion of talented scientists and support for important school science projects. In terms of content, the sponsorship activities focus on natural science and medicine. The foundation honors outstanding research achievements every two years with the Otto Bayer Award and in alternate years with the Hansen Family Award, each of which carries a cash award of EUR 75,000. The program is rounded off by two prizes for up-and-coming researchers: The international Bayer Early Excellence in Science Award is presented annually in the categories biology, chemistry and medical science, each with prize money of EUR 10,000, while the Bayer Thrombosis Research Award, which supports scientists in the German-speaking region whose work focuses on basic and clinical research into thrombosis, is presented every two years and has prize money of EUR 30,000.
Bayer: Science For A Better Life
Bayer is a global enterprise with core competencies in the Life Science fields of health care and agriculture. Its products and services are designed to benefit people and improve their quality of life. At the same time, the Group aims to create value through innovation, growth and high earning power. Bayer is committed to the principles of sustainable development and to its social and ethical responsibilities as a corporate citizen. In fiscal 2015, the Group employed around 117,000 people and had sales of EUR 46.3 billion. Capital expenditures amounted to EUR 2.6 billion, R&D expenses to EUR 4.3 billion. These figures include those for the high-tech polymers business, which was floated on the stock market as an independent company named Covestro on October 6, 2015. For more information, go to www.bayer.com.
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