BMLS Josef Buchmann Awards Ceremony - Several scholarships and prizes awarded to young scientists
November 2018. The generous benefactors of BMLS, the Buchmann family, donated several scholarships and awards for young scientists at BMLS. The ceremony held on 15 November 2018 at BMLS honored the young researchers working at the institute and their achievements. Over 120 PhD students and postdocs currently conduct research at BMLS into how cells and cellular networks function on a molecular level. They help with their research to lay foundations for applications such as the development of new medical drugs.
BMLS director Prof. Enrico Schleiff outlined at the beginning of the ceremony the achievements of the BMLS research groups over the last year, both in terms of science as well as in applying successfully for additional research funding. He expressed his pride in the work of BMLS’s talented young scientists and also thanked Dr. Anna D´Errico and Till Moreth, the Post-doc and PhD representatives, for their enthusiastic work and in particular for the organization of this year’s BMLS 4th Student and Postdoc Symposium.
BMLS vice director Prof. Achilleas Frangakis then announced the four winners of this year’s BMLS Josef Buchmann PhD Scholarships: Eva Lotz from the Windbergs group, Lohitesh Kovooru from the Pohl group, Nicole Spies from the Schleiff group and Nikita Balyshev from the Kudryashev group. Each scholarship holder receives 1300 € per month for one year. PhD student and Buchmann PhD Scholarship holder Remus Rosenkranz from the Schleiff group then gave a fascinating talk about his research project. He investigates differences in heat stress tolerance between cultivated and wild tomatoes at a molecular level, with a particular focus on heat shock factor proteins.
A new award, donated by the Buchmann family for the first time this year, is the BMLS Best Master Thesis Award. Miriam Weber from the Frangakis group won this award, which consists of 500 €. In the project for her Master’s degree, Miriam Weber used the latest electron microscopy technology to study the three-dimensional structure of the major adhesion complex of a Mycoplasma pathogen. She too presented her findings at the ceremony in a very professional manner.
Enrico Schleiff congratulated the PhD students who successfully completed their PhD projects in 2017 and each received a BMLS certificate: Franziska Foß, Miriam Damm, Ricarda Härtl, Jennifer Stefani and Sascha Seidel (Acker-Palmer lab), Jan Gajewski (Grininger lab), Wagner Steuer-Costa (Gottschalk lab), Jean Nzigou Mandouckou (Dötsch lab), Patrick Seyfried and Thomas Halbritter (Heckel lab), Antje Heinrich, Merle Hirschmann and Florian Fleischhacker (Bode lab), Karthik Maddi (Akutsu & Dikic labs), Denise Palm, Katharina Wiesemann and Yangjie Hu (Schleiff lab).
The prize for the Best BMLS PhD Thesis 2017 was awarded to Jan Gajewski from the Grininger group. The award consists of 1.000 € and was also donated by the Buchmann family. During his PhD project Jan Gajewski successfully adapted the microbial synthesis of fatty acids so that baker’s yeast produced high yields of short chain fatty acids instead of long chain fatty acids. Three publications and two patents emerged from this research. As Jan Gajewski explained in his presentation, fatty acids play an important role as platform compounds for the production of different kinds of chemicals from renewable resources. Short chain fatty acids can for example be used as biofuel instead of petrol.
The last prize awarded on the day was the Director's Pick 2018. This year the prize went to Elvira Lewalter and Nicole Kipping for their essential and outstanding commitment to the BMLS community.
All speakers warmly thanked Dr. h.c. Josef Buchmann and his wife Dr. h.c. Bareket Buchmann who have been actively supporting many people and projects at the Goethe University Frankfurt since 1980. Everybody in BMLS is extremely grateful to the Buchmann family for their support!