The winners of the Bayer Early Excellence in Science Award 2012 have been announced. The prizes, each worth EUR 10,000, have been awarded by an independent scientific committee of the Bayer Science & Education Foundation. The Bayer foundation presents for the fourth time the Bayer Early Excellence in Science Award to talented young scientists in the early stages of their academic careers.
“Research and science play a central role for the inventor company Bayer. I am delighted that these prizes give us the opportunity to support and motivate young scientists,” said Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Plischke, member of the Board of Management of Bayer AG responsible for Innovation, Technology and Sustainability, and member of the Board of Directors of the foundation. “Bayer’s innovation strategy has long focused on intensive exchange with colleges and universities. The targeted funding of young scientists is just one element of our program – cooperation and strategic partnerships are essential for successful industrial research,” continued Plischke.
This international prize was first presented in 2009. It is awarded annually in the three categories biology, chemistry and materials. The selection is made on the basis of the originality and quality of candidates’ research and the significance of this work for the respective award category.
Cancer Biology: New opportunities in tumor drug research
Dr. Christiane Opitz from the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) of the Helmholtz Association in Heidelberg receives the “Bayer Early Excellence in Science Award” 2012 in the category “Biology” for her outstanding contributions to the understanding of the relevance of the tryptophan metabolism for cancer biology. Together with her team she discovered the first endogenous ligand for the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AHR) which is involved in promoting tumor growth and suppressing anti-tumor immune responses. The discovery of this new signalling pathway could enable the development of drugs which are expected to inhibit the malignant phenotype of cancer cells and restore anti-tumor immunity.
Selective Catalysis and Synthesis: New routes to highly functional small synthetic molecules
Dr. Nuno Maulide from the Max Planck Institut für Kohlenforschung in Mülheim receives the “Bayer Early Excellence in Science Award” 2012 in the category “Chemistry” for developing new routes to synthesize highly functional small ring molecules. These novel small molecules are excellent starting points for various active ingredients or natural products. By developing new synthetic methods beyond well-established chemical reactions the Maulide group has discovered unprecedented new phenomena and introduced novel concepts in the field of asymmetric catalysis while broadly contributing to a new set of tools to be used in all Life Sciences for stereoselective synthesis of small molecules.
Energy storage and transformation: Novel nanomaterials enabling the efficient use of renewable energies
Dr. Volker Presser from the INM – Leibniz-Institute for New Materials – in Saarbrücken receives the “Bayer Early Excellence in Science Award” 2012 in the category “Materials” for his research on novel nanomaterials that can be used in energy storage and transformation technologies. The work of his team focuses on the development of super- and pseudocapacitors using state-of-the-art methods like electrospinning and atomic layer deposition. Another research topic the newly developed and novel concept for electrochemical energy storage, the “flow capacitor”, in which specific features of redox flow batteries and supercapacitors have been synergistically combined. Volker Presser’s research contributes substantially to advancing the technologies urgently needed for efficient large-scale use of renewable energies and to energy storage through electrochemical processes.