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Advancement award for Heidelberg molecular biologist

Kerstin Göpfrich receives highly endowed award from the Alfried Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach Foundation

Kerstin Göpfrich | © Karl Gödel

Prof. Dr. Kerstin Göpfrich has been awarded the Alfried Krupp Prize 2024 for her groundbreaking scientific work in the field of synthetic biology. The Alfried Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach Foundation awards the prize, which comes with prize money of one million euros, annually to young scientists holding their first professorship in the natural sciences and engineering. Over a period of five years, it serves to promote the flexible and independent organization of research and teaching. Kerstin Göpfrich has been teaching and researching as a professor at the Center for Molecular Biology at Heidelberg University (ZMBH) since 2022.

Prof. Göpfrich's field of research is molecular engineering. The aim of her work is to construct artificial cells with an essential feature of life - the ability to evolve. To achieve this, she uses innovative tools such as DNA nanotechnology, microfluidics and 3D printing. The aim is to gradually create an artificial model cell that can produce its own molecular "hardware". According to the foundation in its justification for awarding the prize, the molecular biologist and biophysicist's research into the description and utilization of life processes not only opens up new perspectives for science and industry, it could also revolutionize the fundamental understanding of life.

Kerstin Göpfrich studied physics at the University of Erlangen and the University of Cambridge (UK), where she also completed her doctorate in 2017. As a postdoctoral researcher, she worked at the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems in Stuttgart. In 2019, she moved to the MPI for Medical Research in Heidelberg before being appointed Professor of Molecular Biology at the Faculty of Biosciences at Heidelberg University in 2022. At the ZMBH, she heads the "Biophysical Engineering of Life" research group. Kerstin Göpfrich has already received several awards for her work, including an ERC Starting Grant from the European Research Council and funding from the Human Frontier Science Program for innovative basic research in biology.

The Alfried Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach Foundation has been supporting people and projects in art and culture, education, science, health and sport since 1968. Since 1986, it has been supporting young scientists in the natural sciences and engineering who hold a first professorship at a German university. The Alfried Krupp Prize 2024 will be awarded to Kerstin Göpfrich in Essen this fall.


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