December 11, 2015

Congratulations to Mohamed Bentires-Alj, Silvia Arber and Claudia Keller

Today, Mohamed Bentires-Alj of the FMI was presented with the Outstanding Investigator Award for Breast Cancer Research, funded by Susan G. Komen® by the American Association for Cancer Research. The award honors his seminal work on normal and neoplastic breast cell plasticity. The AACR award, made annually, is among the most prestigious in the field of breast cancer research. Secondly, in recognition of her contributions to an improved understanding of neuronal networks controlling movement, Silvia Arber has received this year’s Remedios Caro Almela Prize for Research in Developmental Neurobiology. Finally, Claudia Keller, a former PhD student in Marc Bühler’s group, has been awarded the Ingrid zu Solms Prize for her doctoral dissertation.

In recent years, Mohamed Bentires-Alj has made significant contributions to our understanding of the molecular mechanisms controlling normal and neoplastic breast stem cells, metastasis and resistance. He and his group found that mutant PI3K induces multipotency and multi-lineage mammary tumors, and that SHP2 promotes breast cancer progression and maintains tumor-initiating cells. Notably, his research revealed that co-targeting PI3K/mTOR and JAK2 in triple-negative breast cancer models decreases tumor volume, seeding and metastasis, and increases overall survival. He also discovered that cessation of CCL2 inhibition accelerates breast cancer metastasis by promoting angiogenesis. The AACR recognizes these noteworthy achievements but also cites in particular “his relentless efforts in building bridges between basic research and the clinic.”

The AACR Outstanding Investigator Award for Breast Cancer Research, funded by Susan G. Komen®, recognizes an investigator of no more than 50 years of age whose novel and significant work has had or may have a far reaching impact on the etiology, detection, diagnosis, treatment, or prevention of breast cancer.
» More about Mohamed Bentires-Alj
» AACR announcement
» Photos from the ceremony

Silvia Arber, Senior group leader at the FMI and Professor at the Biozentrum of the University of Basel, investigates the motor system, a sophisticated network of interconnected neurons coordinating motor behavior. She and her team revealed the precise neuronal pathways communicating between spinal cord, brainstem and muscles and were able to assign particular movement patterns to specific neuronal circuit components. For these discoveries, she has now been awarded the 2015 Remedios Caro Almela Prize for Research in Developmental Neurobiology.

The Remedios Caro Almela Prize is awarded to European researchers for significant contributions in the field of developmental neurobiology. The Remedios Caro Almela Chair of Developmental Neurobiology was established in 2000 by the Martinez-Caro family, to honor the memory of a beloved wife and mother, and since 2006 the Chair has sponsored an international prize, awarded in collaboration with the Miguel Hernández University of Elche (UMH) and the Instituto de Neurociencias de Alicante (IN). Silvia Arber joins the previous prize winners Barry J. Dickson (2006), François Guillemot (2007), Rüdiger Klein (2008), Stephen Wilson (2009), Christine Holt (2011) and Magdalena Götz (2013).
» More about Silvia Arber
» Video from the award ceremony (in Spanish)

Claudia Keller, a former PhD student in Marc Bühler’s group, has received the Ingrid zu Solms Prize for Sciences 2015 for her dissertation on “Regulation of heterochromatic RNA decay via heterochromatin protein 1 (HP1)”. Claudia Keller is currently pursuing postdoctoral studies on chromatin regulation in Asifa Akhtar’s laboratory at the Max Planck Institute of Immunobiology and Epigenetics in Freiburg.

The Ingrid zu Solms Foundation, established in 1994 by Countess Ingrid zu Solms-Wildenfels, aims to support women in the sciences and reward their achievements. The Ingrid zu Solms Prize for Sciences honors outstanding dissertations in the natural sciences, life sciences and engineering.
» More about Claudia Keller
» Ingrid zu Solms-Preis für Naturwissenschaften 2015

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