Brenda Schulman becomes new Leopoldina Member

Brenda Schulman, head of the department "Molecular Machines and Signaling" at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry has been elected member of the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina.

October 24, 2019

Brenda Schulman, director at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry (MPIB), has been elected to Germany’s National Academy of Sciences. Schulman has thus been accepted into the ranks of a community of around 1600 outstanding scientists from Germany and the world over. The election is a special honour and is regarded as one of the highest scientific accolades in the German-speaking world.

About the new member
Proteins are major constituents of every cell and, because of the many roles they play, are among the most important biochemical agents. Brenda Schulman’s research aims to improve our understanding how protein activities are dynamically controlled during cellular processes. Together with her team, she is investigating the ubiquitin system. Disorders of this system have been implicated in cancer, neurodegenerative diseases and infections. Ubiquitin, a small signal protein, binds to target proteins and controls important biological processes. It acts as a stop signal and can affect the stability of the target protein, its cellular location, its enzyme activity or its interaction with other molecules. In her research, Brenda Schulman investigates how, and especially when, ubiquitin binds to target proteins with a view to counteracting potential dysregulation.

Schulman studied biology at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, USA. After earning her PhD in 1996 from M.I.T., Cambridge, MA, USA, she worked as a postdoctoral fellow at the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Centre, Boston, MA, USA, and at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Centre, New York, NY. In 2001 she moved to St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, TN, USA where she worked as the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator from 2005 to 2017. Since 2016 she has headed the Molecular Machines and Signalling Pathways Department at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry in Martinsried near Munich. As from October 2018 Schulman has also been an honorary professor at the Technical University of Munich. Brenda Schulman has received numerous awards, including the US Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers. She is an elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the US National Academy of Sciences and the European Molecular Biology Organisation. In 2019 she received the Ernst Jung Prize for Medicine and the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize for her significant work.


About the Leopoldina
The Leopoldina originated in 1652 as a classical scholarly society and now has 1,600 members from almost all branches of science. In 2008, the Leopoldina was appointed as German National Academy of Sciences and, in this capacity, was invested with two major objectives: representing the German scientific community internationally, and providing policymakers and the public with science-based advice. It promotes a scientifically enlightened society and the responsible application of scientific insight and is an advocate of human rights. The Leopoldina presents its policy recommendations in a scientifically qualified, independent, transparent and prospective manner, ever mindful of the standards and consequences of science.

About the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry
The Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry (MPIB) belongs to the Max Planck Society, an independent, non-profit research organization dedicated to top level basic research. As one of the largest Institutes of the Max Planck Society, around 800 employees from 45 nations work here in the field of life sciences. In currently eight departments and about 25 research groups, the scientists contribute to the newest findings in the areas of biochemistry, cell biology, structural biology, biophysics and molecular science. The MPIB in Munich-Martinsried is part of the local life-science-campus where two Max Planck Institutes, a Helmholtz Center, the Gene-Center, several bio-medical faculties of two Munich universities and several biotech-companies are located in close proximity.

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