MKFZ Rising Star Awards & BSIO Female Independency Award Symposium (Dec 11, 2014)

On December 11, 2014, the award symposium of the Berlin School of Integrative Oncology (BSIO) Female Independency Award (FIA) as well as the Molecular Cancer Research Center (MKFZ) Rising Star-Award took place.

During the symposium, the awardees of both awards presented their work and discussed its implications and open questions lively with the audience.

The Female Independency Award is awarded annually by the graduate school “Berlin School of Integrative Oncology” which is DFG-funded in the framework of the German excellence initiative. It supports outstanding female scientists who are either aiming to start their own group soon or who have recently become group leader in the field of cancer research and thus aims to facilitate the critical transition phase to independency for female scientists and therefore to increase the number of female group leaders in cancer research.

With many highly competitive applications having been submitted for the award, the decision has been challenging. Finally, two awardees have been selected and share the Female Independency Award support that includes a (in this case shared) flexible grand of 50.000 €, coaching and mentoring opportunities and the inclusion into the junior faculty of the graduate school: Dr. Michela di Virgilio and Dr. Hedwig Deubzer.

Dr. di Virgilio, who has been a postdoc in the lab of Michael Nussenzweig at Rockefeller University New York/USA before becoming a junior group leader at the Max-Delbrück-Center (MDC) in fall 2014, focuses on “Deregulation of DNA end processing and it role in carcinogenesis”. While Dr. di Virgilio is a basic scientist by training, the second awardee, Dr. Hedwig Deubzer, is a physician scientist in the field of pediatric oncology and divides her time between research and clinic. She also came to Berlin quite recently and works in the department of Prof. Angelika Eggert, head of the Charité Center 17 for Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine. Her research focuses on “Epigenetic Modifications in Neuroblastoma – Novel Therapeutic Targets”.

Not only have the awardees of the Female Independency Award presented their work and scientific visions for the future at the symposium, but the awardees of the Rising Star Award of the Charité’s Molecular Cancer Research Center (MKFZ) have also presented their recently published work to the broad audience of the symposium. The award is endowed with 1000 € and is given to young scientists (doctoral candidates and postdocs up to 35 years of age) who have published their results as first authors in high-ranked papers in the past 12 months. This has been accomplished by Dr. Frederik Damm, Dr. Mareike Frick and André Weilemann, being the 2014 awardees.

Dr. Frederik Damm has published his work entitled “Acquired initiating mutations in early hematopoietic cells of CLL patients” in Cancer Discovery. The second awardee, Dr. Mareike Frick, has been selected for the award for having published her work on “Pharmacological and genomic profiling identifies NF‐κB‐targeted treatment strategies for mantle cell lymphoma” in Nature Genetics. Last but not least, the doctoral candidate André Weilemann, who is working in the group of Prof. Georg Lenz, has published his work on “Essential role of IRF4 and MYC signaling for survival of anaplastic large cell lymphoma” in the journal Blood.

Congratulations to all awardees of the BSIO Female Independency Award and the Rising Star Awards of the Molecular Cancer Research Center (MKFZ), we hope to see more of their work in the future!