1st MDC Young Science Transfer Award


The winners of the first MDC Young Science Transfer Award: Ulrich Gohlke and his team. From left: Dr. David Carter and Dr. Ulrich Gohlke, MDC; Dr. Piotr Małecki, MDC and HZB; Dr. Edgar Specker, Screening Unit and Medicinal Chemistry – Group Nazare, FMP; Jessica Przygodda, MDC. Picture: Vera Glaßer /MDC


We are pleased to announce Ulrich Gohlke and his team as the winner of the “MDC Young Science Transfer Award” for his technology transfer project. The prize is endowed with € 15,000. Dr. Gohlke belongs to the research group of Udo Heinemann and works on the development of substances to treat prostate cancer. He and his team are particularly interested into a family of enzymes called the histone lysine demethylases. A subfamily of these demethylases plays an important role in cancer growth, especially in prostate cancer, the most common form of tumor affecting men in Germany.

With scientists from the Leibniz Institute for Molecular Pharmacology (FMP), Gohlke and his team carried out high-throughput screening to identify molecules that inhibit KDM4-demethylases and may be useful in the development of a therapy for prostate cancer. The next step will be to further develop the molecules into an active drug that can be tested in animal models to determine its effectiveness in fighting the causes of prostate cancer. If the results are promising, the substance will move into clinical trials carried out in cooperation with pharmaceutical companies.

Members of the winning MDC group are Dr. Ulrich Gohlke (Senior Scientist), Dr. David M. Carter (postdoc), Dr. Piotr H. Małecki (postdoc), Jessica Przygodda (TA), all in the research group of Udo Heinemann. Their partner at FMP is Dr. Edgar Specker of the research group of Marc Nazaré.


Picture: Vera Glaßer/MDC

This was the first time the “MDC Young Science Transfer Award” has been awarded. The presentation was made during the first “Joint FMP/MDC Transfer workshop,” jointly organized by the technology transfer offices of MDC and FMP. A second prize, also endowed with 15,000 € each, was awarded to a team from the FMP led by Dr. Ralf Schülein, whose group is also looking for new ways to treat cancer.

Eight evaluators ranked the project ideas and chose the two they estimated to have the highest translational potential. The members of the panel represented diverse areas including medicinal chemistry, the pharmaceutical industry and a venture capital provider. During the workshop, they provided helpful comments and advice regarding the progress and the state of development of the projects to the candidates.


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