Franziska Kappert received the prize for her work as a master student, entitled “Structural Characterization of FGFR Ligand Interaction by NMR Spectroscopy” which she performed 2013-2014 in the group of Professor Harald Schwalbe at the Universität Frankfurt. Deregulation of the fibroblast growth factor often leads to cancer, and inhibitors of this growth factor are consequently attractive candidates as potential drugs. Franziska analyzed the binding of such inhibitors with structural techniques and thus was able to improve our molecular understanding of these interactions. She continued to work on this topic as a doctoral student in Frankfurt.
The prize was awarded to Natascha Perera for her dissertation “Investigation of the biochemistry and function of neutrophil serine protease 4 (NSP4)”. She performed her research form 2009 to 2014 at the Comprehensive Pneumology Center of the Helmholtz-Zentrum München in der group of Dr. Dieter Jenne. Natascha studied biology at the Ludwigs-Maximilian-Universität München. During her doctoral work, she discovered the serine protease NSP4 in neutrophiles and subsequently characterized this novel protease.It is unique, because it cleaves proteins after arginine, but not after lysine. Natascha showed that NSP4 is absent in patients that suffer from Papillon-Lefe`vre syndrome. At present, she is a project manager in a company.
Edgar Boczek received the prize for his dissertation entitled “The maturation of Src kinase by the molecular chaperone Hsp90 and its kinase specific cochaperone Cdc37”. He worked for his degree from 2010 to 2014 in the group of Professor Johannes Buchner at the TU München. Edgar elucidated how the viral oncogenic Src protein kinase is activated by the molecular chaperone Hsp90 and why the cellular form of the Src kinase functions independently of Hsp90. His results open up new possibilities to steer physiologically important kinases via the modulation by Hsp90. Edgar Boczek studied biochemistry and biotechnology at the Martin-Luther-Universität Halle, and he worked for his diploma thesis at the Universität Zurich. His results were published in two publications in Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA. He is now a Senior Scientist at Dewpoint Therapeutics.