GSCN Awards

GSCN Scientific Awards

GSCN Awardees 2017

- The „GSCN 2017 Young Investigator Award“ goes to  Dr. Francesco Neri from the Leibniz Institute on Aging - Fritz-Lipmann-Institute (FLI) in Jena.
- The „GSCN 2017 Female Scientist Award“ goes to  Prof. Elly Tanaka from the Institute of Molecular Pathology IMP in Vienna and the TU Dresden.
- The „GSCN 2017 Publication of the Year Award“ goes to  Dr. J. Gray Camp and Prof. Barbara Treutlein (Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig), together with Dr. Keisuke Sekine and Prof. Takanori Takebe (Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center). The award honors the publication "Multilineage communication regulates human liver bud development from pluripotency" in the journal Nature (Camp , JG et al., 2017, Nature 546, 533-538, doi: 10.1038/nature22796).

Find the GSCN press release here:  Eavesdropping on the conversation of stem cells

2017 "GSCN Young Investigator Award"

Dr. Francesco Neri receives the "GSCN 2017 Young Investigator Award" for his excellent research as a junior scientist. He explores the damage caused by aging processes in organ and tissue functions. As humans and other mammals age, the risk of developing diseases such as cancer rises. There is increasing evidence that genetic and epigenetic factors influence the functionality and homeostasis of adult stem cells in old age and promote the selective advantage of dominant stem cell clones, which eventually leads to cancer development. Especially DNA methylation (a stable and hereditary epigenetic modification) is associated with age-related diseases and cancer. Neri researches the epigenetic changes of aging stem cells and their function in the formation of clonal dominance and neoplastic interested in understanding how a single cell embryo develops into an adult organism.

Francesco Neri was awarded the Sofja Kovalevskaya Prize of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. His junior research group on the "epigenetics of aging" exists at the FLI in Jena since 2016. The epigeneticist from Tuscany studied molecular biology in Siena (Italy), received a PhD in biotechnology and has been involved in research in Nijmegen (Netherlands) and Turin (Italy).

2017 "GSCN Female Scientist Award"

Prof. Dr. Elly Tanaka receives the "GSCN 2017 Female Scientist Award" for her outstanding achievements in the investigation of fundamental processes in the regeneration of tissues and body parts in animal models. She focuses on the regenerative capacity of the axolotl (Mexican salamander), which regenerates extremities and repairs spinal cord injuries and even brain injuries by re-growing the required cells. The research of the Tanaka Group aims to elucidate the mechanisms that are responsible for the regrowth of the limbs. These findings serve as a model for the regeneration capacity of vertebrates. Key questions are the identity of the stem cells involved and the signals that activate stem cells after injuries.

Elly Tanaka studied biochemistry at Harvard University and received her PhD in Marc Kirschner's lab at the University of California, San Francisco. As a postdoctoral student, she joined Jeremy Brockes at University College, London. In 1999, Tanaka became a group leader at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics in Dresden. In 2008, she became professor at the TU Dresden. From 2013 to 2016, she was a Max Planck Fellow and from 2014 to 2016, she headed the DFG Center for Regenerative Therapies Dresden (CRTD). Since 2016, she has been at the Research Institute of Molecular Pathology (IMP) in Vienna and has been a “Honorarprofessor” at the TU Dresden.

2017 "GSCN Publication of the Year"

J. Gray Camp
and Keisuke Sekine have discovered how single cells work together and use their genomes to develop into human liver tissue. The results were published by an international research team led by Takanori Takebe (Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center) and Barbara Treutlein (Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig). In the current study, the researchers employ the technology of single-cell RNA sequencing for their analyses. With this method, they observed the alteration of individual cells when combined in a three-dimensional micro-environment with vascular cells, connective tissue cells, and liver cells that communicate with each other. The researchers developed a complete set of active transcription factors, signaling molecules and receptors for each of these cell types, before and after their combination to form liver tissue. The single-cell RNA sequencing aided the researchers in comparing the three-dimensional liver tissue produced from stem cells in the laboratory with naturally occurring human fetal and adult liver cells. The study is a milestone towards the production of healthy, human liver tissue from pluripotent stem cells using biotechnology. The publication is the "GSCN 2017 Publication of the Year Award".

J Gray Camp and Barbara Treutlein



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“ went to Dr. Julia Ladewig of the Institute of Reconstructive Neurobiology of the University Hospital Bonn.

- The „GSCN Female Scientist Award“ went 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“ went 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.

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