Jürgen Knoblich, Senior Scientist and Deputy Scientific Director at the Institute of Molecular Biology (IMBA), receives the Erwin Schrödinger Prize of the Austrian Academy of Sciences for his research on the molecular mechanisms responsible for asymmetric stem cell division.
Knoblich and his team used the fruitfly Drosophila Melanogaster as a model organism. Neuronal stem cells in the fly brain – the so called neuroblasts – serve as originators for nerve cells. Thereby the stem cells divide asymmetrically, into another neuroblast and a daughter cell, creating a stem cell reservoir without depleting its stock of stem cells. During the last years of his research Knoblich found out that mechanisms similar to that identified in the fruitfly also contribute to brain formation in higher organisms such as mice and even humans. These findings are essential for the detailed understanding of mechanisms involved in tumor growth and might therefore be of great importance in further medical research.
Jürgen Knoblich is honored for receiving the award: „The Erwin Schrödinger Prize is not only meant for a single person, but for an international team of incredible scientists. We are thankful for having the possibility to work in an institute like IMBA with unlimited scientific freedom.” Josef Penninger, Scientific Director at IMBA, comments on the award: „I am glad to have such an outstanding scientist in the field of brain development at our institute. His work results in fundamental findings and many new prospects in the field of stem cell biology.”
About Jürgen Knoblich
Jürgen Knoblich started his scientific career as a graduate student at the Max Planck Institute in Tübingen. After his PhD Jürgen Knoblich joined the laboratory of Drs. Yuh Nung in San Francisco as post doctoral fellow. In 1997 Jürgen Knoblich became a group leader at the Institute of Molecular Pathology (IMP) in Vienna, Austria. In 2004 he became a senior scientist at the Institute of Molecular Biotechnology of the Austrian Academy of Sciences (IMBA) and was appointed deputy scientific director of the institute in 2005.
The Erwin Schrödinger Prize
The Erwin Schrödinger Prize is an annual award presented by the Austrian Academy of Sciences for lifetime achievement by Austrians in the fields of mathematics and natural sciences. The prize was established in 1958 and was first awarded to its namesake, Erwin Schrödinger.