• Maurice Michel Receives Prestigious Eppendorf Young European Investigator Award 2023
    Dr Maurice Michel, Eppendorf Young European Investigator 2023.
  • L-R: Professor Laura Machesky, Dr Maurice Michel, Dr Adel Al Jord, Professor Reinhard Jahn, Dr Axel Jahns.

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Maurice Michel Receives Prestigious Eppendorf Young European Investigator Award 2023

Jun 30 2023

In its 28th edition, Eppendorf SE, the Hamburg-based life sciences company, is once again awarding its esteemed research prize. The independent jury, led by Professor Reinhard Jahn, has chosen Dr Maurice Michel from the Science for Life Laboratory, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden, as the distinguished recipient of the €20,000 Eppendorf Award for Young European Investigators 2023.

Dr Alicia Michael, Friedrich Miescher Institute for Biomedical Research, Basel, Switzerland, and Dr Adel Al Jord, Collège de France, Paris, France, were also honoured for their outstanding contributions to biomedical research in Europe.

Dr Maurice Michel, born in 1986, has been recognised for his ground-breaking research on artificial functions of DNA repair enzymes for disease treatment. His remarkable work revealed that the binding of a small molecule to the active site of a DNA repair enzyme not only boosts its activity but also triggers a reaction not observed in the free protein. This breakthrough leads to enhanced DNA repair following oxidative damage.

“These ground-breaking discoveries may have far-reaching applications in the treatment of cancer or age-related degeneration,“ the judges said.

Maurice Michel: “It is an immense honour and I feel humbled to be awarded with the 2023 Eppendorf Award. This would not have been possible without the contribution and spirit of many scientists, be it colleagues or collaborators, as well as mentors and an incredible family I call mine. The award recognises the potential of manipulating enzymatic functions in living cells at will. Using small molecule organocatalysts, we installed new biochemical reactions within an enzyme and have thus succeeded in rewriting the base excision repair pathway. Our research now focuses on a broadening of this technology base by investigating other enzymes and understand biochemical reaction pathways and their biological consequences. Rerouting or reducing oxidative DNA damage depending on individual needs could serve as a new strategy for the development of the precision therapeutics of the future.“

The inspirational award ceremony took place on 22 June 2023, at the Advanced Training Center of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg, Germany, and rounded off with a flying buffet and drinks in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere.

Established in 1995, the Eppendorf Award for Young European Investigators aims to recognise outstanding contributions to biomedical research and provide support to young scientists in Europe under the age of 35. The prestigious award is presented in collaboration with the scientific journal Nature. The winner is chosen by an independent committee comprising Professor Reinhard Jahn (Max Planck Institute for Multidisciplinary Sciences, Göttingen, Germany), Sadaf Farooqi (Wellcome-MRC Institute of Metabolic Science, Cambridge, UK), Madeline Lancaster (MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge, UK), Ben Lehner (Wellcome Sanger Institute, Cambridge, UK; Center for Genomic Regulation PRBB, Barcelona, Spain), and Laura Machesky (University of Cambridge, UK).

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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