January 25, 2021
Prisca Liberali awarded prestigious Friedrich Miescher Award
FMI group leader Prisca Liberali, who is also a Professor at the University of Basel, receives the Friedrich Miescher Award 2021 for her research on design principles of tissue organization. The Friedrich Miescher Award is awarded yearly to a young scientist based in Switzerland for outstanding achievements in biochemistry. Prisca Liberali shares the award with EPFL Professor Andrea Ablasser.
Prisca Liberali is a pioneer in defining mechanisms that drive cell-to-cell variability and its involvement in the emergence of complex cellular traits. She takes a systematic, biochemical approach to understanding the emergent properties of morphologically and functionally distinct cell types from a collection of cells that start out with identical characteristics. This knowledge is essential to elucidate fundamental biological processes, such as cell reprogramming and disease. For their studies, the researchers in the Liberali laboratory develop various cutting edge systems and tools, including 3D intestinal organoids grown from single stem cells and high-content drug screens.
Prisca Liberali completed her PhD at the institute Mario Negri Sud, Italy. She then conducted her postdoctoral studies at the Institute of Molecular Systems Biology at ETH Zurich, Switzerland, and the Institute of Molecular Life Sciences at the University of Zurich. In 2015, she joined the FMI in Basel as a group leader and became assistant professor at the University of Basel. In 2017, Prisca Liberali received one of the coveted Starting Grants from the European Research Council (ERC) and in 2019 she became an EMBO Young Investigator. She is married and has two children.
The Friedrich Miescher Award honors Swiss or Swiss-based young scientists under the age of 40 for outstanding achievements in the biochemistry field. The award is under the patronage of the Molecular Biosciences section of Life Science Switzerland (LS2), a non-profit organization dedicated to advancing biological sciences within the Swiss academic community. The award is worth 20,000 CHF and is donated by our institute, the Friedrich Miescher Institute for Biomedical Research (FMI).
This year, the selection committee decided to share the 2021 prize between Prisca Liberali and EPFL professor Andrea Ablasser. The award ceremony will take place online during the annual meeting of LS2, on February 17, 2021.