Max Planck scientists honoured with Biomedicine Award

Max Planck scientists honoured with Biomedicine Award

Three MPI researchers awarded for medically relevant cutting-edge research in the field of electron microscopy and protein degradation

June 05, 2024

This year's Dortmund Biomedicine Prize, endowed with 2,500 euros, goes to three young scientists from the Max Planck Institute (MPI) of Molecular Physiology. A total of five scientists are being honoured by the Verein zur Förderung der biomedizinischen und klinischen Forschung e.V. for outstanding work in the field of biomedical research.

“Many institutions in Dortmund deliver cutting-edge research for the benefit of the general public. This is exactly what we want to support with the Biomedicine Promotion Award”, explains the chairman of the association Hermann Kalhoff, senior consultant and deputy director of the Clinic for Paediatrics and Adolescent Medicine at Dortmund Hospital.

AI-based software for cryo-electron tomography

Thorsten Wagner and Gavin Rice have developed software that accurately recognizes and picks proteins in electron cryo-tomography, substituting troublesome hand selection. The new open-source tool, called TomoTwin, uses metric deep learning based on neural networks. It makes it possible to localise multiple proteins with high accuracy and throughput without manually creating or retraining the network each time.

New mechanism in the maturation process of ribosomes

Malte Gersch, group leader at the CGC, and his team have gained initial molecular insights into the machinery that enables the maturation of the ribosome by key proteins, the cell's protein factory. At the centre is the small protein FUBI, which is known for marking proteins for degradation and thus modifying the stimulation of immune reactions. Using a newly developed chemical toolkit, the researchers characterised how two deubiquitinating enzymes provide a specific Fubi hydrolase activity and thus act as Fubi proteases in two steps.


In addition to the three MPI scientists, Mihael Vucur from the Department of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Infectiology at the University of Düsseldorf and Benjamin Buchmüller from TU Dortmund/Princeton University were honoured with the Biomedicine Prize.

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