Leibniz Prize 2017 for MaxSynBio Member Joachim Spatz
December 08, 2016
The latest recipients of Germany's most prestigious research funding prize have been announced. In Bonn today, the Joint Committee of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) chose ten researchers, three women and seven men, to receive the 2017 Leibniz Prize. The recipients of the prize were selected by the Nominations Committee from 134 nominees. Of the ten new prizewinners, three are from the natural sciences, three from the humanities and social sciences, two from the life sciences and two from the engineering sciences. Each of the ten winners will receive €2.5 million in prize money. They can use these funds for their research work in any way they wish, without bureaucratic obstacles, for up to seven years. The awards ceremony for the 2017 Leibniz Prizes will be held on 15 March in Berlin.
Among the awardees is also Prof. Joachim Spatz of the Max Planck Institute for Intelligtent Systems. Joachim Spatz is also a member of MaxSynBio. The work he has been awarded for is closely related to his work in MaxSynBio.
Joachim Spatz will be recognised with the Leibniz Prize for his outstanding research at the boundaries of materials sciences and cell biophysics. His research is concerned with cell adhesion, that is, the adhesion and bonding of cells to one another and to surfaces. His exemplary experimental approach has garnered precise insights into the control of cell adhesion and indeed physiological processes. To achieve this, Spatz used artificial, molecularly structured boundary surfaces to reduce possible interactions to a minimum of molecular components. Joachim Spatz’ scientific achievement lies in the fact that he can study the communication mechanisms between cells in a new way with the help of concepts from materials science and physics. Using these resources, he was able to explain how the molecular mechanism of collective cell migration works in wound healing.
Joachim Spatz studied physics in Ulm and at Colorado State University. He obtained his doctorate in macromolecular chemistry in Ulm, and it was also there that he completed his habilitation with a topic on cell mechanics. Since 2000 he has been a professor of biophysical chemistry in Heidelberg. In 2004 he was appointed director of the Max Planck Institute for Metals Research, now the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems, in Stuttgart. Since 2008 he has also held a visiting professorship in molecular cell biology at the Weizmann Institute in Rehovot, Israel.
Read the full press release on the website of the DFG: