Prize for Heidelberg Molecular Life Sciences endowed with 100,000 euros
02 December 2015
Prof. Dr. Thomas Holstein will receive this year’s HMLS Investigator Award for his groundbreaking work in combining zoology and plant science at Heidelberg University into an interdisciplinary area of organismal research. The prize jury praised the biologist for his significant contributions to the development of Heidelberg as a research location as well as his dedication to teaching. The researcher, who teaches and conducts research at the Centre for Organismal Studies (COS), will be presented the Heidelberg Molecular Life Sciences (HMLS) award endowed with 100,000 euros on 9 December 2015. The HMLS initiative is part of the “Molecular and Cellular Basis of Life” Field of Focus anchored in Ruperto Carola’s institutional strategy. Participants include the Faculty of Biosciences, the Medical Faculties of Heidelberg and Mannheim, the Max Planck Institute for Medical Research, the German Cancer Research Center and European Molecular Biology Laboratory.
Thomas Holstein (born 1953) studied biology at the University of Vienna (Austria), where he also earned his doctorate. He was a research assistant at the University of Zürich (Switzerland) for three years, and then joined the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich from 1983 to 1993, where he also completed his habilitation. Thereafter he was appointed professor of developmental biology at the University of Frankfurt, and was later Chair of Cellular Biology at the Technical University Darmstadt. In 2004 he was appointed to the Faculty of Biosciences at Heidelberg University. Prof. Holstein is a member and co-coordinator of the CellNetworks Cluster of Excellence and an initiator of the Nikon Imaging Center, founded ten years ago as a university “Industry on Campus” project offering researchers access to outstanding imaging processes in the field of microscopy. In April of this year, Holstein was elected President of the Heidelberg Academy of Sciences and Humanities.
Prof. Holstein’s research focuses particularly on questions in evolutionary and developmental biology. Besides studying the development of simple animals, including the freshwater polyp Hydra, the biologist also works in the field of comparative genomics. Other interests include neuronal networks and signalling molecules, which are essential in stem cell biology and tissue regeneration. At the COS he heads the Molecular Evolution and Genomics Department. The Centre for Organismal Studies was founded in 2010 and merged the former institutes for zoology and plant sciences of the Faculty of Biosciences into a single, interdisciplinary research institution. COS researchers investigate the development, organisation and structure of organisms beyond the boundaries of organisational levels.
The award ceremony will be opened by Prof. Dr. Thomas Rausch, coordinator of the “Heidelberg Molecular Life Sciences” initiative. Prof. Dr. Joachim Wittbrodt, Deputy Managing Director of the Centre for Organismal Studies, will deliver the address honouring this year’s award recipient. Prof. Holstein will also provide some insight into his research work, including the Hydra model system, regeneration and the biology of stem cells. The event will take place in the BioQuant building, Im Neuenheimer Feld 267, Ute Greenier Hall (7th floor) and begins at 5pm. The ceremony will be held in English and the public is welcome to attend.