Awards Ceremony: LMU and Elsevier Honour Junior Researchers for Their Work in Neuro- and Molecular Biology

The following press release was issued by the Ludwig-Maximilians Universität - München on November 18th, 2010

Munich, Germany, 18 November 2010 — New insights into Alzheimer’s disease - a novel mechanism that regulates nerve cell survival in the brain, elucidation of the structural requirements for the attachment of specific sugars to proteins, and an increase in the power of a method for the analysis of neural circuitry. We owe these recent advances in Biosciences to the research carried out by four junior researchers based in academic and non-academic research institutes in Munich. Their investigations have now earned for each of them one of four prizes awarded for outstanding publications in the fields of molecular biology and neuroscience by the Munich Center for Neurosciences (MCN) and the Graduate Center-LMU, together with science publisher Elsevier. The members of the jury found that each of the prize winners, two doctoral and two post-doctoral researchers had made “a significant contribution to scientific knowledge” in their respective fields.

In offering the prizes, the MCN and the Graduate Center-LMU wish to support and encourage budding young scientists at LMU and other institutions in the Munich region. For the past four years Elsevier has sponsored similar awards for junior researchers around the world. This year’s collaboration with LMU marks the first time that Elsevier has extended its scheme to Germany.

You are cordially invited to attend the

Awards Ceremony (and reception) to be held on
23 November, 18:00hrs
At the Max-Joseph-Saal of the Münchener Residenz.

The prize winners and the Joint Chairs of the Jury, together with Martin O'Malley (Managing Director Science & Technology at Elsevier), will be in attendance from 17:00hrs, and will be happy to talk to representatives of the media.

Persons wishing to attend are kindly requested to inform the LMU Office in advance at or by calling (+49) (0) 892180-3423.

About the Winners
Dr. Jovica Ninkovic
 (*1976) of the Institute for Stem Cell Research at the Helmholtz Zentrum München takes the LMU/Scopus Neuroscience Award. During the past two years Dr. Ninkovic has uncovered a novel mechanism that ensures the survival of a specific type of nerve cell in adult mammalian brains. His study, entitled “The transcription factor Pax6 regulates survival of dopaminergic olfactory bulb neurons via crystallin alphaA“, impressed the jury members both in terms of its scientific content and its clearly articulated structure. The LMU/Scopus Prize, worth 5000 Euros, is funded equally by MCN and Elsevier.

The winner of the Scopus Young Neuroscientist Award is Hongbo Jia (*1983) of the Faculty of Medicine at the Technical University of Munich. By imaging nerve cells by means of two-photon fluorescence microscopy while simultaneously recording their electrical activity, Hongbo Jia has been able to enhance the rate of acquisition and analysis of electrophysiological data from intact brains. His study, entitled “Dendritic organization of sensory input to cortical neurons in vivo“, has provided new insights into the functional organization of neurons in the visual cortex. The 2500-Euro prize is sponsored by Elsevier.

Dr. Tobias Bittner (*1978) of the Faculty of Medicine at LMU receives the Brain Navigator Award for a study entitled “Microglial CX3CR1 knockout prevents neuron loss in an Alzheimer´s disease mouse model”. The project involved the use of two-photon fluorescence in mouse mutants created by targeted gene knockout. The discovery referred to in the title of the published work marks a significant advance in our understanding of the pathology of Alzheimer’s disease. In essence, Bittner and his colleagues were able to show that defective communication between neurons and microglia cells plays an important role in the nerve cell loss that characterizes Alzheimer’s disease. This prize, worth 1500 Euros, is funded by Elsevier.

The LMU Young Life Scientist Award goes to Dorota Zielinska (*1983) of the MPI for Biochemistry and LMU. By means of a highly innovative application of high-resolution mass spectroscopy, Dorota Zielinska and her colleagues succeeded in defining the structural features that characterize sites of N-glycosylation (the attachment of sugars to amino groups) in proteins. The results have been published in a paper entitled “Precision mapping of an in vivo N-glycoproteome reveals rigid topological and sequence constraints“, and they solve some long-standing problems, while posing new questions about the process of glycosylation. This prize, worth 2.500 Euros, is sponsored by LMU’s GraduateCenter.

About Elsevier
Elsevier is a global information analytics company that helps institutions and professionals progress science, advance healthcare and improve performance for the benefit of humanity. Elsevier provides digital solutions and tools in the areas of strategic research management, R&D performance, clinical decision support, and professional education; including ScienceDirect, Scopus, ClinicalKey and Sherpath. Elsevier publishes over 2,500 digitized journals, including The Lancet and Cell, more than 35,000 e-book titles and many iconic reference works, including Gray's Anatomy. Elsevier is part of RELX Group, a world-leading provider of information and analytics to professionals and business customers, in a wide range of industries.

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