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Hella Bühler Prize for Dermatologist Jochen Utikal

Press Release No. 81/2010
23 April 2010
100,000-euro award to be presented on 30 April
Privatdozent Dr. Jochen Utikal
Privatdozent Dr. Jochen Utikal

This year’s Hella Bühler Prize worth 100,000 Euros goes to Privatdozent Dr. Jochen Utikal, dermatologist at Heidelberg University’s Medical Faculty of Mannheim. The distinction, which has now been awarded for the fifth time, is conferred on young scientists working at Heidelberg University who have achieved outstanding scientific results in the field of cancer research. Dr. Utikal has been selected for his work on pluripotent stem cells. The keynote lecture on “The Origin of the Human Species from a Neanderthal Perspective” on 30 April 2010 will be given by Prof. Dr. Svante Pääbo, director at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology (Leipzig).

Jochen Utikal (b. 1974) studied human medicine in Ulm, where he received his doctorate in 2001 for a dissertation on skin cancer. From 2002 to 2006, he was an assistant physician at the University Medical Centre Mannheim. Subsequently Dr. Utikal conducted post-doctoral research at Harvard Medical School in Boston, USA. In 2009, he completed his Habilitation in dermatology and venerology at the Medical Faculty of Mannheim. At present he is working at the University Hospital for Dermatology, Venerology and Allergology in Mannheim. His research work is aimed at converting pigment cells in the skin into so-called induced pluripotent stem cells. The properties of these cells resemble those of embryonic stem cells. Their distinguishing characteristic is that they are not yet specialised for specific cell types. Dr. Utikal’s investigations are designed to cast light on the hitherto largely unknown conversion mechanism and thus gain new insights on tumour genesis.

The monies associated with the research prize are a donation from Heidelberg dentist Dr. Hella Bühler (1910-2002), who left her estate to Heidelberg University on condition that it be used for the award of an annual prize in recognition of outstanding scientific achievements in cancer research. The ceremony at which the Hella Bühler Prize for 2010 is awarded will be opened by Prof. Dr. Karlheinz Sonntag, Vice-Rector of Heidelberg University. After the lecture by Prof. Pääbo, Prof. Dr. Sergij Goerdt, director of the University Hospital for Dermatology, Venerology and Allergology in Mannheim, will deliver a speech in honour of the recipient. Subsequently Dr. Utikal will speak on the subject “From Melanocytes to Pluripotent Stem Cells”. The ceremony takes place in the Great Hall of the Old University (Grabengasse 1, Heidelberg) and begins at 3 p.m.

Note for newsdesks
A digital photo of Dr. Utikal is available on request from the Public Information Office.


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