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The 2009 Leibniz Prize: Eleven new scientific discoverers
Date:12/11/2008

s. Telomeres are segments of DNA that are found at the ends of linear chromosomes and that become slightly shorter with each cell division. Rudolph has studied this process of telomere shortening and its effects in numerous groundbreaking studies, although his main interest is in the enzyme telomerase, which inhibits the telomere shortening, thus allowing cells to divide more often. Using mouse models and mutants, Rudolph was able to show that telomere shortening ultimately leads to a shorter lifespan and that the occurrence of liver cirrhosis depends on the level of telomerase activity, for example. Rudolph's finding that telomere shortening has two contradictory effects on the occurrence of cancer is especially important: On the one hand it causes tumour suppression, while on the other it is often accompanied by spontaneous tumour development. Rudolph also found that telomere shortening also influences the function and survival of stem cells. All of his research has immense potential for application in therapy as well as being of fundamental importance for basic research.

After studying medicine in Gttingen and completing his internship/residency in Hannover, Karl Lenhard Rudolph worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York and at the Dana Farber Center in Boston, where he first worked on telomeres. In 2001 he established his own research group at the Hanover University of Medicine under the DFG's Emmy Noether Programme, and in 2006 he was awarded one of the first Heisenberg professorships by the DFG. The following year he accepted a chair at the University of Ulm and became the leader of a Max Planck Research Group.

Prof. Dr. Burkhard Wilking (38), differential geometry, Department of Mathematics and Computer Science, University of Mnster (2.5 million euros)

Burkhard Wilking, the youngest of the new Leibniz Prize recipients, is internationally renowned as one of the leaders in the field o
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Contact: Marco Finetti
marco.finetti@dfg.de
Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft
Source:Eurekalert

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