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HMLS Investigator Award goes to Michael Lanzer and Elmar Schiebel
Posted December 19 2011
Award for Heidelberg Molecular Life Sciences is worth € 200,000

This year’s HMLS Investigator Award for outstanding research in the field of molecular life sciences was presented to Prof. Dr. Michael Lanzer and Prof. Dr. Elmar Schiebel. They were also honoured for their special commitment to junior researchers at the Hartmut Hoffmann-Berling International Graduate School of Molecular and Cellular Biology. Worth €200,000, the Heidelberg Molecular Life Sciences (HMLS) Prize was awarded on 14 December 2011 to Prof. Lanzer, who is director of the parasitology unit in the Department of Infectious Diseases of Heidelberg University Hospital, and to Prof. Schiebel, research group leader at the University’s Center for Molecular Biology (ZMBH). The HMLS initiative is part of the institutional strategy for which Heidelberg University receives funds in the Excellence Initiative. Participants are the Faculty for Biosciences, the Medical Faculties Heidelberg and Mannheim, the Max Planck Institute for Medical Research, the German Cancer Research Center and the European Molecular Biology Laboratory.

The award ceremony in the BioQuant building was introduced by Prof. Dr. Thomas Holstein, Dean of the Faculty of Biosciences of Heidelberg University. The tributes were given by Prof. Dr. Hermann Bujard (ZMBH) and Prof. Dr. Joachim Wittbrodt (Centre for Organismal Studies). The prizes were awarded by HMLS coordinator Prof. Dr. Frauke Melchior. Subsequently Michael Lanzer and Elmar Schiebel gave an insight into their research projects. In conclusion, the work of the Hartmut Hoffmann-Berling International Graduate School of Molecular and Cellular Biology was presented.

The Hartmut Hoffmann-Berling International Graduate School of Molecular and Cellular Biology (HBIGS) is a state-of-the-art structure for training highly qualified doctoral students in a particularly favourable research location. Besides content from core molecular biology subjects, the HBIGS training programme passes on expertise in mathematic simulation and modelling biological systems, in special microscopy and modern high throughput biology. In addition, doctoral students are given intensive advice about career paths in academia, industry or academic administration. Prof. Lanzer and Prof. Schiebel were initially successful with their proposal for a graduate school to attract federal and state government support, and have since developed and expanded the HBIGS. They are joint spokespersons of the Hartmut Hoffmann-Berling International Graduate School.

Michael Lanzer has been professor at the Heidelberg Medical Faculty since 1999, and is now director of the parasitology unit in the Department of Infectious Diseases. Prior to that he was junior research-group leader at the Research Centre for Infectious Diseases at Würzburg University after doing a post-doc at Sloan-Kettering Institute in New York (USA). His main research interest is malaria infection. Prof. Lanzer’s group investigates the cellular bases of infection and looks for cell processes that could prevent infection or cause a milder form of the disease. The research also includes issues of medication resistance and coevolution between the malaria germ and human beings. In addition, Prof. Lanzer is involved in European organisations to promote young researchers. Michael Lanzer as well as Elmar Schiebel have been members and principle investigators of the cluster of excellence CellNetworks from the start.

Elmar Schiebel was appointed professor at the Center for Molecular Biology of Heidelberg University (ZMBH) in 2005. His team examines the regulation and control of the way chromosomes divide during cell division. The experiments on the functioning of spindle poles, motor proteins and mitotic kinases – involving different living cell microscopy procedures – contribute considerably to our present understanding of cell division. Before he came to Heidelberg, Schiebel worked at the Paterson Institute for Cancer Research in Manchester and the Beatson Institute for Cancer Research in Glasgow (UK). After his post-doc at the University of California in Los Angeles (USA) he was attached to the Max Planck-Institute for Biochemistry in Martinsried. Prof. Schiebel is deputy director of the ZMBH.