The City of Vienna awards annual prizes in recognition of outstanding achievements in the fields of architecture, fine arts, literature, music, journalism, science, and popular education. This year, nine people and a collaborative group will be honoured for their life's work, with Meinrad Busslinger being the laureate in the field of mathematics, informatics, science and technology.
“The prizes of the City of Vienna honour achievements that are outstanding within the Viennese cultural and scientific landscape. In turn, they underline the city's important role as a vibrant place of art, culture, science and popular education,” said Veronica Kaup-Hasler, City Councillor for Culture and Science, in a press release accompanying the announcements of this year’s laureates.
The awards of the City of Vienna are presented annually since 1947. An independent jury of experts selects the recipients of the award, which is endowed with 10,000 EUR. The jury elaborated on its decision stating that “…the molecular biologist Meinrad Busslinger has been internationally recognised as a renowned scientist […] for decades. For his findings in the field of B-cell development, he has been honoured with the Wittgenstein Prize, among others.” The jury highlighted his international visibility, and the strong impact of his work on Vienna as a scientific location.
Meinrad Busslinger was recruited by the IMP’s founding director Max Birnstiel as one of its first senior scientists in 1987. He is scientific deputy director at the IMP and professor in molecular genetics at the University of Vienna. His lab studies the processes by which transcription factors regulate the commitment of early hematopoietic progenitors to the B cell lineage and control their differentiation into mature B cells and plasma cells. Busslinger is an elected member of the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO), the Austrian Academy of Sciences, and the Academia Europaea, and recipient of several important research awards, including a Wittgenstein Award and the Virchow Medal of the University of Würzburg.
This is only the second time that a Preis der Stadt Wien is presented to an IMP principal investigator - IMP emeritus director Barry Dickson received the honour in 2014. Meinrad Busslinger’s former PhD student Giulio Superti-Furga, now scientific director of the Center for Molecular Medcine (CeMM), was a recipient in 2011.
An award ceremony is normally held in December, although that may not be possible this year due to the continuing pandemic.