Award for Young Researcher: Excellence in Cancer Research
6 October 2015
Heidelberg Biologist Dr. Sylvia Erhardt receives Hella Bühler Prize endowed with 100,000 euros
Presentation of the Hella Bühler Prize (from left to right): Eulogist Prof. Dr. Frauke Melchior, chairman of the prize jury, Prof. Dr. Felix Wieland, laureate Dr. Sylvia Erhard and Vice-President Prof. Dr. Dieter W. Heermann.
Heidelberg Biologist Dr. Sylvia Erhardt has been awarded the 2015 Hella Bühler Prize, which is endowed with 100,000 euros. The prize is aimed at young researchers at Ruperto Carola whose outstanding cancer research has garnered well-deserved attention. The prize monies are used to further advance their innovative research. Dr. Erhardt leads a junior research group at the Centre for Molecular Biology of Heidelberg University (ZMBH) as part of the CellNetworks Cluster of Excellence. The award was presented during a ceremony, that took place on 6 October 2014 at the ZMBH.
The event was opened by Prof. Dr. Dieter W. Heermann, Vice-President of the University of Heidelberg, with a greeting. After a review by the two winners of 2014, Prof. Dr. Frauke Melchior, head of a research group at the ZMBH, paid tribute to the scientific work of this year's laureate. Afterwards Dr. Erhard presented her research.
Sylvia Erhardt (b. 1971) received her degree in biology from Heidelberg University in 1998 and earned her doctorate in 2003 from the University of Cambridge (Great Britain) with a dissertation in the biological sciences. Her postdoctoral research took her to the University of Berkeley in the USA. From the beginning of her scientific career, her research focused on epigenetics, a field that studies heritable mechanisms of gene regulation not directly encoded by the DNA. She returned to Ruperto Carola in 2008 to continue her research with her own ZMBH junior research group under the auspices of the CellNetworks Cluster of Excellence.
In her project “A Role of Centromere Components in Cancer and Cancer Therapy”, Dr. Erhardt is investigating how chromosomes are correctly assigned to daughter cells during cell division. In this context she is exploring how an inconspicuously small but complex chromosomal constriction regulates this process and what role this so-called centromere plays in the development of cancer when it does not function properly. The researcher is mainly interested in the epigenetic regulation responsible for the formation of functioning centromeres. By gaining a deeper insight into these processes, Dr. Erhardt and her team hope to pioneer new approaches to targeted and better cancer treatment.
The research prize, endowed by Heidelberg dentist Dr. Hella Bühler (1910 to 2002) is aimed at supporting young Heidelberg researchers continue and deepen their ongoing excellent work in the field of cancer research.