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MDC researcher Markus Landthaler receives science prize

2016-03-21 / The cell regulates the activity of its genes in various ways. The GlaxoSmithKline Foundation awards Dr. Markus Landthaler of the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine in the Helmholtz Association (MDC) for his innovative research about gene regulation. The systems biologist Landthaler wants to understand how proteins bind to and influence the function of the messenger RNA (mRNA), the transient carrier of genetic information after transcription of DNA. The characterization of RNA-binding proteins may help correct disturbed gene regulation in the future.

Dr. Markus Landthaler. Image: David Ausserhofer/MDC

Gene regulation refers to the mechanisms that determine which genes are activated when and in what quantity. One of the associated processes is post-transcriptional regulation – the fine-tuned control of messenger RNA (mRNA), which is a temporary carrier of genetic information. The enormous technological advances of recent years have made it possible to research post-transcriptional gene regulation in a previously unimagined complexity.

In his two publications that earned him the prize, Dr. Markus Landthaler uses innovative methods to characterize RNA-binding proteins, which have a significant influence on post-transcriptional gene regulation. Landthaler’s work has thus contributed significantly to research into the basic mechanisms of gene regulation. What’s more, as faulty gene regulation plays a role in many diseases, the findings contained in these publications could help identify new targets for medication and treatment, as well as bring about the use of RNA-binding proteins to modulate faulty gene regulation.

Markus Landthaler now has been awarded the 2016 science prize by the GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) Foundation for his groundbreaking research in the area of post-transcriptional gene regulation by RNA-binding proteins.

Landthaler is head of the “RNA Biology and Posttranscriptional Regulation” research group at the Berlin Institute for Medical Systems Biology (BIMSB), which is part of the MDC. Landthaler holds a PhD from the University of Würzburg, which he gained in 2003. He worked at institutes including the Rockefeller University in New York before moving to the MDC in 2009, where he established his research group.

The GSK Foundation’s science prize is awarded annually and is endowed with €7,500. It is divided into the categories “basic medical research” and “clinical research.” Landthaler has been awarded the 2016 award in “basic medical research;” the “clinical research” prize goes to Marc Aurel Busche of the Technical University of Munich. The award ceremony takes place in July 2016.


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