The 2017 Awardee - Kerstin Wilhelm!

This years awardee of the Werner-Risau-Prize for outstanding achievements in endothelial cell biology is Dr. Kerstin Wilhelm from the Angiogenesis & Metabolism Laboratory headed by Michael Potente from the Max Planck Institute for Heart and Lung Research in Bad Nauheim, Germany. Bad…. what? you may ask, since this little town about 35 km north of Frankfurt is not exactly a hip location like Berlin or Munich or Cologne. But: The Max Planck Institute there is a very prestigious one that experienced a restart into a new life, when Werner Risau had moved to this place with his group and started working there on blood brain barrier formation and angiogenesis mechanisms in the early nineties. We are therefore proud to see that Dr. Kerstin Wilhelm is following in this tradition and is continuing research on the formation of the vascular bed. Her research, recently published in Nature (Nature (2016) 529: 216-220) focuses on the role of the transcription factors FOXO1 and MYC during vessel growth and maturation and has implications for endothelial proliferation, growth and metabolism.

As usual the prize will be awarded during the Spring Meeting of the German Society for Cell Biology, this year on March 1st, in Leipzig. Hope to see you all there!

The race is open again

Here it finally is: The application form (in the download section) for the next 2017 Werner Risau Prize award. The prize will again be handed over during the Annual Meeting of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Zellbiologie (DGZ). this time in Leipzig, Germany between March 1 - 3, 2017. Hurry up, if you have an interesting story just published or in press, and which you are prepared to present to an international audience of dedicated cell biologists- it`s definitely worth it! If you don´t believe it - I am not getting tired to point at previous winners of our prize. Just try to google where some of the previous Werner Risau Prize winners are now advancing their career....

But remember: The application deadline is January 30, 2013! So do your paperwork and send it in ASAP!

No Winner for 2016!

Unfortunately, we could not find a person this year that would have qualified in our opinion as a laureate for the Werner-Risau-Prize Sad . We are still looking into the potential reasons as to why this happened: Fewer people that actually knew Werner Risau personally and bear him in remembrance, low overall visibility of the prize, unpleasant format of the prize ceremony, not enough prestige (or money?) that is associated with the prize - all these points, if true or not, could have contributed to the fact that we had an extremely low number of applicants this year, although we had extended the deadline again for the application considerably. Nevertheless, instead of giving the prize to someone less outstanding, we decided against this option and convinced ourselves that we should do our best and spread the word about the Prize among our colleagues and collaborators and all the scientist that we will meet in seminars and conferences, with much more energy and vigor and enthusiasm as before during the next couple of months!

Application proposal 2016

Please see the corresponding announcement in the download section!

The 2015 winner is there - Ayel Ben-Zvi!

Out of a number of astounding studies that were submitted this time tin application for the WRP, we picked the one of Dr. Ayel Ben-Zvi as the winning publication. While working as a Postdoc under the supervision of Dr. Chenghua Gu at the Department of Neurobiology at the Harvard Medical School, he was able to identify a new gene, Mfsd2a, which is responsible for the proper blood-brain barrier formation during embryonic development, while suppressing trans-endothelial vesicular transport t the same time.

He and his colleagues could also demonstrate that this differentiation process was independent from vessel neoformation or angiogenesis in the CNS and also independent from vascular patterning (the latter being the process of how vessel invade the CNS tissue and how the form branches there). Dr. Ben-Zvi currently is a Principle Investigator at the Department of Developmental Biology and Cancer Research at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Congratulations!!Tomorrow he will give a presentation on this topic at the DGZ Annual Meeting in Cologne!