Helen May-Simera wins prestigious research award from the Humboldt Foundation for her research work on cilia and related disorders
Biologist Dr. Helen May-Simera is the recipient of a Sofja Kovalevskaja Award from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. She will use this to set up a junior research group at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) that will investigate the causes of eye disorders that are associated with cilia dysfunction.
Sofja Kovalevskaja Award winner Dr. Helen May-Simera
Prior to receiving the award, May-Simera was working at the National Eye Institute (NEI), an institute at the American National Institutes of Health (NIH). In Mainz, she will be heading up her own research group of young scientists in the Institute for Zoology, thus further enhancing the focus set on the molecular biology of cilia and the related disorders.
At Mainz University, May-Simera will also have access to the existing expertise and the national and European networks maintained by the Mainz researchers. Over the next five years, the junior researcher will receive prize money totaling EUR 1.65 million designed to finance her research project.
The Sofja Kovalevskaja Award is financed by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and is awarded by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. It is one of the most highly endowed German academic prizes and is used to promote the work of outstanding junior researchers under unique conditions.
For five years they can undertake their own research project and form a working group at an institution of their choice in Germany – independently and without administrative constraints. The award is used to honor the outstanding academic achievements of exceptionally promising young scholars from abroad. This year, a total of eleven young academics received the award, the ceremony for which will take place in Berlin on November 11, 2014.
The application submitted by Helen May-Simera to the Humboldt Foundation covers a research project in which she intends to investigate signal processing in the retinal pigment epithelium, a layer of the retina. The main aim is to discover the extent to which cilia play a role in the transmission of signals. Primary cilia first became the focus of research in the early 1990s once their versatile functions had been identified.
Cilia are small organelles that project out from the cell surface and act like antennae; they receive signals from the environment, process them, and pass them on into the interior of the cell. Primary cilia dysfunction can have serious consequences for health resulting in so-called ciliopathy syndromes. These include Usher syndrome, neurological disorders, cystic kidney diseases, and the complex Bardet-Biedl syndrome – the latter being the specific interest of May-Simera.
At Mainz University, Professor Uwe Wolfrum, May-Simera’s scientific host, has been conducting extensive research into cilia and ciliopathies for the past several years. "We are very pleased that Dr. Helen May-Simera will be continuing her research here in Mainz and I am convinced that her work will represent an exceptionally valuable contribution to our ongoing and planned research projects and that there will be mutual benefits," said the cell biologist.
The research focus on the molecular biology of cilia and ciliopathies is promoted within Wolfrum’s work group by projects such as those of the European 7th Framework Program for Research and Technological Development and the German Research Foundation, in various foundation projects, and a European E-Rare Joint Project. In addition, the transnational work in Mainz is also integrated within the Research Unit Translational Neurosciences. Additional research projects are currently under evaluation.
Professor Dr. Uwe Wolfrum
Cell and Matrix Biology
Institute of Zoology
Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU)
D 55099 Mainz, GERMANY
phone +49 6131 39-25148
fax +49 6131 39-23815
Petra Giegerich | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft
Improving the understanding of death receptor functions in cells
07.11.2018 | Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main
Latsis Prize 2018: Andrea Ablasser unlocks the secret of rapid virus defence
01.11.2018 | Schweizerischer Nationalfonds SNF
Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.
In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...
On Saturday, 10 November 2018, the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its homeport of Bremerhaven, bound for Cape Town, South Africa.
When choosing materials to make something, trade-offs need to be made between a host of properties, such as thickness, stiffness and weight. Depending on the application in question, finding just the right balance is the difference between success and failure
Now, a team of Penn Engineers has demonstrated a new material they call "nanocardboard," an ultrathin equivalent of corrugated paper cardboard. A square...
Physicists at ETH Zurich demonstrate how errors that occur during the manipulation of quantum system can be monitored and corrected on the fly
The field of quantum computation has seen tremendous progress in recent years. Bit by bit, quantum devices start to challenge conventional computers, at least...
Scientists developed specially coated nanometer-sized vehicles that can be actively moved through dense tissue like the vitreous of the eye. So far, the transport of nano-vehicles has only been demonstrated in model systems or biological fluids, but not in real tissue. The work was published in the journal Science Advances and constitutes one step further towards nanorobots becoming minimally-invasive tools for precisely delivering medicine to where it is needed.
Researchers of the “Micro, Nano and Molecular Systems” Lab at the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems in Stuttgart, together with an international...
09.11.2018 | Event News
06.11.2018 | Event News
23.10.2018 | Event News
12.11.2018 | Life Sciences
12.11.2018 | Materials Sciences
12.11.2018 | Physics and Astronomy