Tuebingen, June 6, 2013. How does it feel if your former boss is making a speech about you – because of the impressive research work you’ve done? And is even nominating you for an award? Many young PhD students are now in the limelight of the Otto Hahn Medal award’s ceremony – among them Dr. Joerg E. Braun and Dr. Xiaoyue Wang at the Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology in Tuebingen, Germany. The Otto Hahn Medals are awarded at the Annual Meeting of the Max Planck Society in Potsdam, Germany, on June 5 and 6. Since 1978, a few young and especially highly gifted researchers are awarded the Otto Hahn Medal each year – for their outstanding PhD work and to motivate them for a future scientific career. The award comes with a prize money of 7,500€, which should offer the graduates a financial basis for a research work abroad.
Dr. Joerg E. Braun
Diploma at the age of 25 at the University in Tuebingen, four years later he graduated with the doctor’s degree – summa cum laude. Joerg Braun currently belongs to one of the best graduate students in the field of Life Sciences. Born in Heilbronn, Germany, he finished his doctor’s degree in 2012 under Dr. Elisa Izaurralde, Director of the Department of Biochemistry at the Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology. The young researcher is awarded the Otto Hahn Medal for his outstanding work on the mechanisms of miRNA-mediated gene silencing. mi- or micro-RNA stands for small non-coding Ribonucleic acid molecules that silence the production of specific proteins in the cells of an organism. Biologists use gene silencing in order to understand the function of genes in animals and plants.Dr. Xiaoyue Wang
Born in Shen Yang, China, the young scientist started at the Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology in 2007 and graduated in 2011 under Ralf J. Sommer, Director of the Department for Evolutionary Biology. Xiaoyue Wang used genetic, biochemical and molecular tools to investigate the exact mechanisms of Wnt signaling during vulva induction in Pristionchus pacificus, a nematode or thread worm. She found that nematode vulva development represents a prime example of developmental systems drift. The two model systems Caenorhabditis elegans and Pristionchus pacificus, both nematodes, use the same cells to form their vulvae, but rely on different signalling pathways. In addition, the Wnt signaling network in P. pacificus shows a novel regulatory linkage after evolving novel functional protein domains in otherwise conserved proteins, establishing an extreme example of developmental systems drift. With the help of Wnt signalling pathways cells can react to external signals.
Otto Hahn Medal and Otto Hahn Award
For the Otto Hahn Medal, the Max Planck directors can nominate each graduate student who finished his or her dissertation before the age of 30. The Max Planck Society finally awards up to 30 PhD students among these nominees with the Otto Hahn Medal and a prize money of 7,500€. Only one of them may receive the Otto Hahn Award, which offers, in addition, an independent research group leadership in one of the Max Planck Institutes of the awardee’s choice. This is meant as a follow-up option for the awardee’s career and is usually utilised after some research time abroad.
Since 2012, Dr. Joerg E. Braun is a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, USA. Already since 2011, Dr. Xiaoyue Wang works in a research group at the German Cancer Research Centre (DKFZ) in Heidelberg, Germany.
The Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology conducts basic research in the fields of biochemistry, genetics and evolutionary biology. It employs about 350 people and is located at the Max Planck Campus in Tuebingen, Germany. The Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology is one of 80 research institutes that the Max Planck Society for the Advancement of Science maintains in Germany.
Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology, Tuebingen, Germany
Tel. +49 (0) 7071 601-444