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Leibniz Prize for Heidelberg Scientist Irmgard Sinning

Press Release No. 280/2013
5 December 2013
Most prestigious research award in Germany – honour comes with 2.5 million euros funding
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Prof. Dr. Irmgard Sinning

Prof. Dr. Irmgard Sinning, chair at the Heidelberg University Biochemistry Center (BZH), will receive the 2014 Leibniz Prize from the German Research Foundation (DFG). The DFG made the announcement on Thursday, 5 December 2013. Her research combines biochemistry, biophysics and structural biology “at the highest level”, according to the appraisal by the DFG. The award – Germany’s most prestigious research prize – is endowed with 2.5 million euros for future research endeavours. Prof. Sinning investigates large molecular machines that ensure the delivery of membrane proteins to their specific target membranes. The DFG underscores Prof. Sinning’s significant fundamental contributions to understanding a certain critical transport process.

As a professor for biochemistry and structural biology, Irmgard Sinning has been teaching and conducting research at Heidelberg University since 2000. Her studies of the molecular processes of protein transport within the cell are based on biochemical research methods combined with protein crystallography. Her work aims to uncover how molecular machines function. This includes a protein RNA complex ubiquitous in plants, animals and bacteria that acts as a cellular “postman” and performs a key function in the delivery of membrane proteins.

Irmgard Sinning studied food chemistry at Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich. She worked on her PhD thesis at the Max Planck Institutes for Biochemistry and for Biophysics.and earned her doctoral degree from LMU in 1989. After postdoctoral sojourns in Frankfurt and Uppsala, she was a group leader at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg before her professorial appointment to Ruperto Carola. From 2006 to 2010, Prof. Sinning was Executive Director of the Heidelberg University Biochemistry Center.

The research award of the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Programme has been presented annually by the DFG since 1986. The German Research Foundation has named 11 researchers, four women and seven men, as the 2014 prize recipients. The awards ceremony will be held in Berlin in March of next year.

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