On April 1st, 2016, Prof. Emmanuelle Charpentier was awarded the Otto-Warburg-Medal. The Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (GBM) together with its cooperation partners Elsevier and Biochimica et Biophysica Acta, (BBA) honored Prof. Charpentier with the renowned science award for the development of the CRISPR-Cas9-system as a tool for the editing of genetic material and for further research on the functions of genes. The method developed by Charpentier, which allows the correction of defective DNA sequences, can serve the development of treatment options for diseases. The scientist receives a prize money of 25.000 Euro, which is intended to cover her further research work.
“It is a great honor for me to receive the Otto Warburg Medal,” said Prof. Charpentier in Mosbach. “I would like to take the opportunity to thank my entire team and especially those young researchers who have significantly contributed to the deciphering and development of the CRISPR-Cas9 system with a high degree of commitment, enthusiasm and hard work”.
Based on her proof that – thanks to a „molecular scissor“ – bacteria can cut out transfected foreign genetic material, the scientists developed the CRISP-CAS9-system, a method which is not only of high significance for the future of basic research but can also be applied to treat genetic diseases.
“Through her discovery, Prof. Charpentier has created new and fascinating possibilities for the life sciences,“ said Prof. Johannes Buchner, president of the GBM. “The results show once again the immense importance of basic research for biology and medicine. The new technology developed by Charpentier can play a significant role for gene therapy and have a positive impact on the lives of many patients. We are thus very happy to award the Otto-Warburg-Medal to an excellent scientists like Emmanuelle Charpentier.”
“Together with the GBM, we aim to honor and promote excellent research,” said Petra Ullrich, Marketing Director Europe at Elsevier. “And we are therefore very happy that Prof Charpentier receives the medal this year. The impressive findings of Prof. Charpentier are an excellent example of the significant contribution women make in scientific research and we hope that young researchers will be encouraged and motivated to pursue a career in science as well.” An Elsevier study on the research landscape in Germany that was published in 2015 showed that the number of female researchers has grown more in the past five years than the number of male researchers. Nevertheless, a gap between the number of women and men in research remains.
The Otto Warburg Medal has been awarded since 1963 and enjoys great international prestige. In previous years, winners included leading international scholars like Prof. Randy Schekman of the University of California, Berkeley, who was honored with the medal on the anniversary of the award in October 2013. Schekman also received the Nobel Prize that same year.
Since 2012, the scientific publisher Elsevier has been an exclusive partner of the Otto Warburg Medal and sponsors the award in collaboration with the leading journal Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA).
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