Caroline Hiefinger was awarded with the prize for her master work with the title “Biochemical Analysis of the Evolutionary Origin of Enzymes from s-Triazine Metabolism”. She studied enzymes produced by soil bacteria that undergo rapid evolution during the degradation of the herbicide Atracin. Mutational approaches of one of these enzymes (AtzB) enhanced the activity of the parent enzyme which could be identified as a guanine deaminase. Her results provide the basis for the elucidation of evolutionary processes that eventually produced AtzB. The studies were performed in the department of Prof. Reinhard Sterner at the University Regensburg, where Caroline Hiefinger is currently working as a PhD student.
Julian Kompa received the prize for his master work with the title “Development of Non-Reactive HaloTag Ligands for PAINT-Microscopy”. His work describes the development, synthesis and in vitro characterization of high affinity ligands of the HaloTag protein. The ligands can serve as fluorescent probes for extended imaging sessions. Julain Kompa additionally developed biorthogonal HaloTag-substrate pairs that allow multicolour labelling. The work was performed in the lab of Prof. Kai Johnsson at the Max Planck Institute for Medical Research in Heidelberg. After his master work, Julian Kompa worked as a scientific employee and then started his PhD work in the lab of Prof. Johnsson.
Dr. Christopher Reinkemeier was awarded with the prize for his PhD work with the title “Spatially Confining Translation to Enable Optimized Genetic Code Expansion in Eukaryotes”. Christopher Reinkemeier developed a strategy for a non-toxic genome expansion by using membrane-less organelles, which tolerate the translation of specific mRNAs with expanded codes. His results provide the basis for improved site-directed protein labelling and led to novel tools for imaging. Christopher Reinkemeier performed his PhD work in the department of Prof. Edward Lemke at the EMBL Heidelberg and at the Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz. He is currently working as postdoc in the department of Biosystems Sciences and Engineering at the ETH in Zurich.