Bayer names Early Excellence in Science prize winners

Three young scientists are awarded €10,000 each

Christiane Opitz has won the Biology category in the Bayer Early Excellence in Science Award 2012

The winners of the Bayer Early Excellence in Science Award 2012 have been announced. The prizes, each worth €10,000, have been awarded by an independent scientific committee of the Bayer Science & Education Foundation. The awards are presented to talented young scientists in the early stages of their academic careers.

Christiane Opitz (German Cancer Research Center, Heidelberg) has won the Biology category for her 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 tumour growth and suppressing anti-tumour immune responses. The discovery could enable the development of drugs that inhibit the malignant phenotype of cancer cells and restore anti-tumour immunity.

Nuno Maulide (Max Planck Institut für Kohlenforschung, Mühlheim an der Ruhr) took the Chemistry award for developing new routes to synthesise highly functional small ring molecules. These novel small molecules are said to be 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.

Volker Presser (Leibniz Institute for New Materials, Saarbrücken) was awarded the prize in the Materials field for his research on novel nanomaterials that can be used in energy storage and transformation technologies.

Research and science play a central role for Bayer

‘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 Professor Wolfgang Plischke, member of Bayer’s Board of Management responsible for Innovation, Technology and Sustainability, and member of the Board of Directors of the foundation.

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.