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Otto Mangold Prize 2009 Goes to Heidelberg Zoologist Prof. Dr. Joachim Wittbrodt

Press Release No. 2/2009
16 04 2009
Award for basic research on the early development of the eye in vertebrates
On the occasion of the 18th scientific conference of the Society for Developmental Biology, Heidelberg zoologist Prof. Dr. Joachim Wittbrodt has been awarded the Otto Mangold Prize 2009. Prof. Wittbrodt heads the Department of Developmental Biology and Physiology at Heidelberg University’s Institute of Zoology and is also director of the Institute of Toxicology and Genetics at the Karlsruhe Research Centre. The distinction has been conferred on him for his pioneering work on cell migration in the early development of fish embryos. The prize is awarded every two years for groundbreaking research on the developmental biology of vertebrates. It was presented to Professor Wittbrodt in Hanover in late March of this year.

In his research Professor Wittbrodt uses Japanese rice fish (medaka) and zebrafish to investigate the genetic mechanisms underlying the development of the eye in vertebrates. He has also established new model organisms for research in developmental biology (medaka).

In his speech in honour of the recipient, Professor Andreas Kispert of the Medical University of Hanover singled out persistence and innovative vision as the main wellsprings of Professor Wittbrodt’s scientific achievements. “He is able to recognise at a very early stage the potential of new developments, including those in other disciplines,” said Professor Kispert. “One outstanding example of this is the part he played in the development of a new microscope that has revolutionised research on vertebrate embryos. The use of this microscope has enabled Professor Wittbrodt to obtain fundamentally new insights into cell migration in early embryos of zebrafish and medaka, the model organisms investigated by his research group. His findings are outlined in various publications, including two recent articles in the journal Science (313: 1130-1134 (2006); 322: 1065-1069 (2008).” The latter article was nominated as one of the ten pioneering innovations published by Science last year.

Prof. Dr. Joachim Wittbrodt
Dept. of Molecular Developmental Biology
Institute of Zoology
Heidelberg University
Im Neuenheimer Feld 230
D-69120 Heidelberg
phone: +49 6221 546498

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