GSCN Awards

GSCN Scientific Awards

GSCN Awardees 2016

- The „GSCN 2016 Young Investigator Award“ goes to Dr. Leo Kurian of the Center for Molecular Medicine Cologne (CMMC) at the University of Cologne.
- The „GSCN 2016 Female Scientist Award“ goes to Prof. Dr. Claudia Waskow of the TU Dresden.
- The „GSCN 2016 Publication of the Year Award“ goes to Dr. Guangqi Song, Dr. Martin Pacher, Prof. Michael Ott and Dr. Amar Deep Sharma of the REBIRTH Center and TWINCORE Center at Hannover Medical School for the publication “Direct Reprogramming of Hepatic Myofibroblasts into Hepatocytes In Vivo Attenuates Liver Fibrosis“ in the journal Cell Stem Cell (Song, G. et al., 2016, Cell Stem Cell, 18, 797 – 808, doi: 10.1016/j.stem.2016.01.010.).  Rebirth News

Find the GSCN press release here: All eyes on stem cells

Press: Biospektrum, Sept. 2016 GSCN-Awards-Biospektrum 

2016 "GSCN Young Investigator Award"

Dr. Leo Kurian
 is interested in understanding how a single cell embryo develops into an adult organism. Specifically, the Kurian lab is interested in the development of the heart. They employ a holistic approach combining stem cell-based developmental models with state-of-the-art systems biology approaches to investigate the molecular basis of cell-fate decisions during cardiogenesis. They have been instrumental in developing novel stem cell-based models to study embryogenesis as well as in identifying hidden regulatory layers programming cardiac development. The Kurian lab aims to extend their findings to devise novel therapeutic strategies for cardiac regeneration.

Leo Kurian completed his basic education in chemistry followed by a Master’s degree in biotechnology in India. He obtained his PhD in genetics from the University of Cologne. He spent his post-doctoral years in the Belmonte lab at the Salk Institute and in the Yeo lab at UCSD (both in San Diego, California), where he established stem cell-based models to study programming and reprogramming of cell-fate decisions. In 2014, he established an independent group to study the regulatory basis of cardiac development aging and regeneration at the University of Cologne.

2016 "GSCN Female Scientist Award"

Prof. Dr. Claudia Waskow receives the “GSCN Female Scientist Award” for her outstanding research in the field hematopoiesis. Her research aims at understanding the regulation of hematopoietic stem cells (HSC) in order to improve therapeutic approaches in the future. This includes the identification of cell-autonomous and -extrinsic factors governing the maintenance of HSCs and the differentiation of immune cells. She further searches for potential modifier genes in these processes by pursuing genome wide screens. Her focus is on uncovering basic mechanisms that regulate HSC biology and allow novel translational approaches.

Claudia Waskow studied biology at the Johannes Gutenberg Universität Mainz and at the University of Glasgow. After completing her diploma at the Basel Institute for Immunology at Hoffmann-La Roche, she stayed in Switzerland for her PhD thesis in the laboratory of Hans-Reimer Rodewald, University of Basel. Postdoc stations followed at Ulm University and at the Rockefeller University, New York in the lab of Michel Nussenzweig. After starting 2008 as group leader at the Center for Regenerative Therapies Dresden (CRTD), in 2014 Claudia Waskow became 2014 professor for regeneration in hematopoieses and animal models at the TU Dresden.

2016 "GSCN Publication of the Year"

Guanqgi Song
and Martin Pacher succeeded as a team in the laboratories of Amar Deep Sharma and Michael Ott in establishing a mouse model in which scar tissue in the liver could be transformed to healthy liver cells (Song, G. et al., 2016, Cell Stem Cell, 18, 797 - 808). The research was carried out at the Cluster of Excellence REBIRTH and the TWINCORE Center at the Hannover Medical School (MHH). The mice had a chronic liver disease with scars from connective tissue that impaired the liver function. The researcher transformed the disease causing cells of the connective tissue into healthy new liver cells. „We could show for the first time that only four factors are sufficient to transdifferentiate somatic cells in the organism to functional liver cells“, explains Amar Deep Sharma. „The exceptional benefit of this method is that we can not only reduce the scarring of the organ but additionally regenerate important liver functions“, adds Michael Ott. This approach presented by the researchers opens novel avenues to treat the scarring process followed by chronic inflammation of the liver as well as many other organs.
 Rebirth News

Guanqgi Song

Martin Pacher

Amar Deep Sharma

Michael Ott





Awardees 2015:

- The „GSCN Young Investigator Award“ goes to Dr. Julia Ladewig of the Institute of Reconstructive Neurobiology of the University Hospital Bonn.
- The „GSCN Female Scientist Award“ goes to Prof. Magdalena Götz of the Institute of Stem Cell Research of the Helmholtz Zentrum München and chair of the Institute of Physiology - Department of Physiological Genomics of the Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich.
- The „GSCN Publication of the Year Award“ goes to Jichang Wang and Dr. Zsuzsanna Izsvák of the Research Team „Mobile DNA“ at the Max-Delbrück-Centrum for Molecular Medicine (MDC) in Berlin-Buch. Their publication “Primate-specific endogenous retrovirus driven transcription defines naïve-like stem cells“ appeared in the journal Nature (Wang, J. et al., 2014, Nature, 405-409, doi:10.1038/nature13804).

Find the GSCN press release  here


2015 "GSCN Young Investigator Award"

Dr. Julia Ladewig’s research on human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS cells) is motivated by her hope of improving our understanding of the development of the human brain, both in terms of its cognitive functions and processes that accompany disease. She uses iPS cells and induced neurons won by direct conversion as instruments to examine the genesis of the human cerebral cortex. Her lab has developed three-dimensional cell cultures of neurons as a model. This system can be used to check whether findings achieved through animal models also shed light on human biology. Ladewig has developed promising methods to acquire migrating young neurons and to directly transform human skin cells into neurons. She has discovered important mechanisms that govern communication between neurons and transplanted progenitor cells.



2015 "GSCN Female Scientist Award"

Prof. Magdalena Götz has received the „GSCN Female Scientist Award“ for excellent research on the molecular mechanisms that guide brain development. Götz discovered that radial glia cells are the stem cells of the developing embryonic brain and differentiate into neurons, a finding that ran counter to the consensus in the field. Even adult brains maintain areas where neurons can regenerate. These findings have led to a change of paradigm in the neurosciences with potential uses in the development of new therapies for brain injuries or diseases. By discovering basic molecular mechanisms responsible for the development of the neurons, Götz hopes to learn to reprogram glial cells in the brain into working neurons. Another focus of the lab is to understand the regenerative abilities of the tissues of the zebra fish.


2015 "GSCN Publication of the Year"

Jichang Wang is completing his PhD in the research group “Mobile DNA” headed by Dr. Zsuzsanna Izsvák at the Max-Delbrück-Centrum for Molecular Medicine (MDC) in Berlin-Buch. With their publication “Primate-specific endogenous retrovirus driven transcription defines naïve-like stem cells“ (Wang, J. et al., 2014, Nature, 405-409, doi:10.1038/nature13804), the lab was able to identify key new properties of naïve state human embryonic stem cells (hESCs). These cells constitute only five percent of hESC cultures. In the search for distinctive key properties of the naïve cells, the authors detected a sequence originally derived from primate-specific endogenous retrovirus. Such retroviral sequences were integrated into human DNA millions of years ago and lost their original function as viruses. These observations define HERVH expression as a hallmark of naive-like hESCs and establish a novel, primate-specific transcriptional circuitry that regulates pluripotency. This is an important step for basic research into pluripotency and may one day lead to lead to applications in regenerative medicine.


Jichang Wang

Zsuzsanna Izsvák

Max Delbrueck Center for Molecular Medicine Berlin Stem Cell Network North Rhine Westphalia Partner Organizations Federal Ministry of Education and Research VDI Technologiezentrum