Max Planck Director Petra Schwille receives Otto Warburg Medal

Petra Schwille, Director at the MPI of Biochemistry in Martinsried, is awarded the Otto Warburg Medal 2021 in recognition of her outstanding research work.

September 16, 2022

Düsseldorf. On September 16th 2022, Petra Schwille, Director of the Department "Cellular and Molecular Biophysics" at the Max Planck Institute (MPI) of Biochemistry in Martinsried, will receive the Otto Warburg Medal 2021. The award ceremony will take place during the fall conference of the German Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (GBM). The Otto Warburg Medal 2021 honors Petra Schwille's outstanding research work, which is also of great international interest. "I am very pleased about the recognition of my research and the attention that our approach to synthetic biology is thereby receiving. Investigating the elementary principles of cellular life has always held a special fascination for me and has so far opened up many exciting insights for us. It is therefore a great honor for me to receive this medal," says Petra Schwille, expressing her gratitude for the award.

At the MPI of Biochemistry, Petra Schwille has made it her goal to understand the fundamental principles of life. In order to do so, she is investigating self-assembly processes of biomolecules that may have been crucial for the development of the first cells. Through her work, she aims to gain new insights into basic principles of evolution, and thus into the emergence of the complexity of biological life. Ultimately, the physico-chemical prerequisites for the formation of the phenomenon of life are to be uncovered. Petra Ullrich, Marketing Director Europe at Elsevier, co-sponsor of the Otto Warburg Medal, says: "I am immensely pleased to honor a scientist who helps us understand the fundamental features of life and who is also an inspiration and role model for many young researchers."

About the awardee
Petra Schwille studied physics and philosophy at the Universities in Stuttgart and Göttingen. She received her doctorate under Nobel Prize Laureate Manfred Eigen at the Max Planck Institute (MPI) for Biophysical Chemistry. After a research stay at the Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, USA, she returned to Germany and to the MPI for Biophysical Chemistry in 1999, where she led her own junior research group. In 2002, she accepted an appointment to the Chair of Biophysics at the Biotechnology Center (BIOTEC) of the Technical University of Dresden, which she held until April 2012. Since 2011, she is Director at the MPI of Biochemistry, where she leads the research department "Cellular and Molecular Biophysics". She has also been an honorary professor at the Faculty of Physics of the Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich since 2012. Petra Schwille has already been awarded various prizes, including the Philip Morris Research Prize in 2004, the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize of the German Research Foundation in 2010 and the Bavarian Order of Maximilian in 2018.

About the Otto Warburg Medal
The medal was named after the biochemist, physiologist and Nobel Prize Laureate Otto Heinrich Warburg. In his honor, the first award ceremony took place on the occasion of his 80th birthday in 1963. Since then, the Medal has been awarded by the German Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (GBM). The Otto Warburg Medal is the highest award for biochemists and molecular biologists in Germany and is awarded for first-class research results with international recognition. Since 2007 the medal includes prize money and since 2012 the Information Analytics Company Elsevier and the scientific journal Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA) are exclusive cooperation partners of the Otto Warburg Medal, as well as the sponsors of the award.

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