Global Award

Medal Freigestellt

2017 winner

Prof. Dr. Stefan Jentsch, for his ground-breaking research on the Ubiquitin system. The renowned cell biologist will be honored with the prize for his research on the importance of the protein Ubiquitin and its role in protein degradation.

“Prof. Jentsch was an important scientist who achieved ground breaking new findings in cell biology. His passing has left a gap in the German research landscape”, said Prof. Johannes Herrmann, GBM president. “Through the Otto-Warburg-Medal we honor the significant contribution to cell biology that Prof. Jentsch has made, which will influence modern cell biology even long after his death.”

2016 winner

Prof. Emmanuelle Charpentier, for developing a method that helps to repair defective DNA sequences.

The scientist’s discovery is a milestone in the field of molecular biology, and will have a long-lasting, positive effect on the life of many people. Emmanuelle Charpentier’s findings can help advance the treatment of genetic or chronic diseases, such as AIDS or cancer. She has proven that bacteria, due to so-called “molecular scissors,” are able to remove the infiltration of genetic material. Emmanuel Charpentier utilizes such a mechanism to develop a molecular biological tool, which acts as a novel approach to treating severe human diseases.

2015 winner

Prof. Nikolaus Pfanner, for his findings on the structure of cell organelles and the transportation routes of proteins through the membranes of mitochondria. The award also seeks to underline the importance of excellent scientific research to both young scientists and the public.

Pfanner’s findings are ground-breaking and will have influence beyond his discipline. He essentially succeeded in creating a direct link between a malfunctioning during the transport of proteins in cells and diseases of the nervous system.

2014 winner

Prof. Rudolf Jaenisch, for his pioneering achievements in the field of stem cell research.

Prof Jaenisch became world famous for his ground-breaking work in the field of embryonic stem cell biology. The GBM has awarded him for his insights on the application of the information contained in genes and their role in the development of cancer and other diseases.

2013 winner

Professor Randy W. Schekman was awarded the 2013 Otto Warburg Medal prize on Thursday, 03 October, at 3:00 pm during the Molecular Life Sciences Symposium.

Professor Schekman received the award for his research on the regulation of protein transport processes in cells. He was able to demonstrate that disturbances in these processes are the cause of several genetic diseases and other genetic defects.

Award Picture


The Otto Warburg Medal is awarded to scientists who have made first-class, internationally recognized contributions in the fields of biochemistry and molecular biology. The focus is on outstanding personalities who enjoy an excellent reputation extending far beyond their specialist field and beyond their particular country of origin.

The Otto Warburg Medal has been awarded regularly since 1963 by a panel of experts from the ranks of the GBM. Every GBM member is entitled to propose a nominee to the Executive Board of the GBM. The Executive Board of the society deliberates in a closed meeting on the candidates nominated for the prize.

The annual award ceremony is held in public, alternating between the Fall Conference of the GBM and the Mosbach Colloquium in spring.

More Information

About GBM

The German Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (Gesellschaft für Biochemie und Molekularbiologie, GBM) is the largest organisation for life sciences in Germany. With its almost 5,500 members, it is committed to serving the interests of all those working and researching in the dynamic and promising disciplines of chemistry, medicine and biology – from professors to first-year students. Whether it is the German Research Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft), journalists, the authorities, or professional associations in other disciplines: anyone needing to call on expertise in questions of biochemistry and molecular biological sciences turns first and foremost to the GBM. For further information visit