Awardees 2023

Dr. Marius Lange received the Rainer Rudolph Prize for his dissertation “Modeling dynamic biological processes through the lens of single-cell genomics”. It was completed in the work group of Prof. Dr. Dr. Fabian Theis at the Helmholtz Munich Computational Health Center, School of Computation, Information and Technology & School of Life Sciences, TU Munich. During his Ph.D. thesis, he worked on estimating differentiation trajectories from snapshot single-cell data, allowing insights into how cells execute decisions. With his CellRank algorithm, published in Nature Methods 2022, he presented a solution combining RNA velocity – the time derivative of the gene expression state – and molecular similarity. It enjoys popularity in the community, demonstrated through downloads and citations.

Marius Lange is now working as a postdoctoral researcher in the lab of Barbara Treutlein at ETH Z├╝rich (Department of Biosystems Science and Engineering). His postdoctoral work is funded through an EMBO fellowship.

Helena Anna Maria Schulz-Mirbach was awarded the prize for her Master’s thesis entitled “Testing and optimizing a 3-hydroxypropionyl-CoA mutase in E. coli”. The aim of this work was to establish and optimize a B12-dependent L-lactyl-CoA mutase (LCM) that catalyzes the conversion of L-lactyl-CoA and 3-hydroxypropionyl-CoA. After confirmation of LCM functionality in vivo, several E. coli strains were developed and characterized for evolution-based LCM improvement. Moreover, several selection bottlenecks were identified, paving the way for future optimization of the LCM established here.

The work was carried out in the Department of Biochemistry and Synthetic Metabolism at the Max Planck Institute for Terrestrial Microbiology in Marburg under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Tobias J. Erb. It resulted in a first-author publication.

Ms. Schulz-Mirbach has since continued her research in the working group as doctoral researcher.