HMLS Investigator Award for Irmgard Sinning and Anne-Claude Gavin
8 December 2010
For their outstanding research achievements and their support for structural biology in the Heidelberg Molecular Life Sciences, Prof. Dr. Irmgard Sinning of Heidelberg University Biochemistry Center and Dr. Anne-Claude Gavin of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) have been awarded the HMLS Investigator Award. The prize from the Heidelberg Molecular Life Sciences (HMLS) is worth 200,000 euros and will be presented to its recipients on 13 December 2010. The HMLS initiative is part of the Institutional Strategy for which Heidelberg University receives funding in the framework of the Excellence Initiative. Involved in it are the Faculty of Biosciences, the Medical Faculty of Heidelberg, the Max Planck Institute for Medical Research, the German Cancer Research Center and EMBL.
Structural biology represents a new priority research field in the molecular life sciences in the Heidelberg research area. Prof. Sinning and Dr. Gavin receive the HMLS award as “key figures” in the development and realisation of new approaches to research in structural biology. The grounds given for the selection of these two scientists for this year’s award refer to their work as evidence for the success of a research culture that encourages interaction and exchange between Heidelberg’s structural biology research teams across departmental and institutional boundaries. Their activities are described as deploying and coordinating forces to initiate priority research in structural biology and to pursue such research in a concerted manner. Structural biology as part of basic biological research investigates life processes at the molecular and atomic level and provides information about the spatial relationships and dependencies of individual life functions.
Irmgard Sinning has been professor of biochemistry and structural biology at Heidelberg University since 2000 and was managing director of the Biochemistry Center from 2006 to 2010. In her research, she is mainly interested in molecular protein transport processes within the cell. She investigates the functioning of molecular machines by pursuing biochemical research approaches and employing protein crystallography as a central method. One of the operative factors involved is a protein-RNA complex that occurs as a universal “mailman” in plants, animals and bacteria, playing a key role in the “delivery” of membrane proteins. After her PhD, which she completed at the Max Planck Institute (MPI) for Biochemistry in Martinsried, Prof. Sinning worked at the MPI of Biophysics in Frankfurt, the Biomedical Centre at the Swedish university of Uppsala and at EMBL in Heidelberg before switching to Heidelberg University.
Anne-Claude Gavin has been at EMBL since 2005, where she heads a research group in the field of structural and computational biology. Her main concern is the systematic description of biomolecular cellular networks, based on biochemical research approaches and the use of mass spectroscopy. This includes the investigation and systematic representation of the transcription, metabolism and organisation of a proteome with reference to model organisms and the coverage of all protein complexes in functional units. After her PhD at Geneva University, Dr. Gavin’s scientific career took her first to Basel University, then to the Biotech Cellzome AG in Heidelberg and from there to the European Molecular Biology Laboratory in the same city.
The award will be presented in the Ute Greenier Hall on the 7th storey of the BioQuant Centre, Im Neuenheimer Feld 267 at 5 pm on Monday, 13 December 2010.
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