Professor Nikolaus Rajewsky of the Max Delbrck Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC) Berlin is to receive Germany's most prestigious research award, the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize. The announcement was made by the German Research Foundation (DFG) on Thursday, December 8, 2011. This is the second time the prize will go to the MDC. In 2002 Professor Carmen Birchmeier received the award. In 2012 the prize will be awarded to a total of eleven scientists: two women and nine men were selected from among 131 nominations. The Leibniz Prizes, each endowed with up to 2.5 million euros, will be presented in an award ceremony in Berlin on February 27, 2012.
Nikolaus Rajewsky is Professor of Systems Biology at the MDC and the Charit and Scientific Director of the "Berlin Institute for Medical Systems Biology" (BIMSB) at the MDC. Systems biology combines molecular biology, biochemistry, mathematics and physics in order to quantitatively capture and predict complex processes of life. Professor Rajewsky's research activities focus mainly on microRNAs, a group of genes discovered only a few years ago. As Nikolaus Rajewsky has demonstrated experimentally and with the aid of bioinformatics, microRNAs play an important role in the regulation of genes, including those that play a crucial role in the development of diseases. This discovery opens up a huge field of potential applications, including target structures for novel therapy approaches.
In addition, Professor Rajewsky and his group have also made important methodological and technological advances. Together with his colleague Marc Friedlnder, he developed a computer-based method with which microRNA molecules can be identified. In an innovative research collaboration at the MDC, Professor Nikolaus Rajewsky and Professor Matthias Selbach demonstrated how microRNAs regulate the activity of genes and thus steer the production of thousands of proteins. Another accomplishment, achieved together with developm
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Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres