• Eppendorf Award 2024: Austria’s Clemens Plaschka honoured as Young European Investigator
    Dr Clemens Plaschka, Eppendorf Young European Investigator 2024.
  • L-R: Dr Clemens Plaschka, winner, Professor Michael Sixt, Jury member, Professor Laura Machesky, Jury Chair, Dr Irma Querques, finallst, Dr Axel Jahns, Eppendorf SE, Dr Phong Nguyen, finalist.

Research News

Eppendorf Award 2024: Austria’s Clemens Plaschka honoured as Young European Investigator

Jul 08 2024

The Hamburg-based life sciences company Eppendorf SE has announced the winner of its prestigious research prize for the 29th time. Dr Clemens Plaschka from the Institute of Molecular Pathology (IMP) in Vienna, Austria, has been awarded the Eppendorf Award for Young European Investigators 2024. The independent jury, chaired by Professor Laura Machesky from Cambridge, UK, selected Dr Plaschka for his ground-breaking research on the molecular machines that generate and export messenger RNA.

Born in 1989, Clemens Plaschka receives the €20,000 award for his pioneering work that unveils the mechanisms behind the production and maturation of messenger RNA (mRNA). His discoveries have shed light on the complex processes that enable mRNA to be processed, matured, and exported from the nucleus to the cytoplasm. The jury highlighted that Plaschka’s structural and mechanistic investigations have provided fundamental insights into gene expression and have significant implications for understanding human diseases associated with mutations in core mRNA processing machinery.

Expressing his gratitude, Clemens Plaschka said: "I am absolutely delighted to receive the 2024 Eppendorf Award for Young European Investigators. This award is a special recognition for our highly motivated research team, whose efforts have made this possible. I am also very thankful for the exceptional support from the IMP and Boehringer Ingelheim, the ERC, our colleagues at the Vienna BioCenter and beyond, as well as my family. The award recognises our contributions to revealing the structural mechanisms by which human mRNA is made. Yet many questions remain. In the coming years, we look forward to further understanding the molecular processes that regulate how mRNA is made and destroyed."

In addition to Clemens Plaschka, two other finalists were honoured for their exceptional research contributions:

Irma Querques, Assistant Professor and Group Leader at the Max Perutz Laboratories at the University of Vienna, for her work on engineering new strategies for transposon-mediated genetic manipulation and revealing the structural basis for CRISPR-associated transposition. The jury noted that Querques' work uncovers new mechanistic insights into site-specific insertion and provides new programmable strategies for targeted genetic modifications.

Phong Nguyen, PostDoc at the Hubrecht Institute in Utrecht, for his research on the molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying heart regeneration. Nguyen discovered a detailed sequence of molecular events controlling the disassembly and re-assembly of structural elements in heart muscle, enabling cells to proliferate and re-integrate functionally into the injured heart. His discovery offers fundamental insights into tissue regeneration biology and identifies new targets for future therapeutic approaches to heart injury.

The Award Ceremony took place on 27 June 27 2024, at the Advanced Training Center of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg, Germany.

Visit the Eppendorf website to learn about application modalities, selection criteria and previous winners of the Eppendorf Award for Young European Investigators.

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