Awardees 2015

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.