EMBO Gold Medal 2021 awarded to Andrea Ablasser
Heidelberg, 15 June 2021 – Andrea Ablasser, Professor at EPFL, the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne, Switzerland, is the recipient of the EMBO Gold Medal 2021. With the medal and an award of 10,000 euros, EMBO recognizes outstanding achievements of scientists under the age of 40 in Europe.
Andrea Ablasser receives the award for her pioneering work on how cells recognize inappropriate presence of double-stranded DNA in the cytoplasm as a danger signal and how the sensing of DNA initiates powerful innate immune responses. Her scientific work provides insights into newly discovered mechanisms of innate immunity and may pave the way for therapeutic opportunities for the treatment of inflammatory conditions and cancer in humans.
Ablasser has been exploring the mechanisms and regulation of the DNA sensor cGAS, which upon activation produces the messenger molecule cGAMP. This messenger activates the receptor STING, which eventually activates the immune system through the production of cytokines. More recently, she has elucidated mechanisms by which this pathway is suppressed when encountering host DNA to avoid autoreactivity.
EMBO Member Douglas Hanahan, Distinguished Scholar of the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research and former Director at the Swiss Institute for Experimental Cancer Research (ISREC), EPFL, says: “Andrea Ablasser is a remarkably creative and accomplished scientist. Each of her publications is a conceptual tour de force, clearly establishing her as an exceptional biomedical scientist of her generation.”
The EMBO Gold Medal recipient has been invited to present her research at Cell Bio 2021, a joint online meeting by ASCB and EMBO, in December.
More information about Andrea Ablasser and her research is available in an interview at www.embo.org/people/there-was-so-much-not-yet-discovered-which-allows-you-to-explore/
Andrea Ablasser is a Professor at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL), Switzerland. She earned her approbation in medicine (2008) and MD (2010) from the Medical School of Ludwig-Maximilian-University, Munich, Germany. She was a visiting research scientist at University of Massachusetts, Worcester, USA, in 2008 and a post-doctoral research fellow at University of Bonn, Germany from 2008 to 2014. She joined EPFL in 2014 as Tenure Track Assistant Professor. At EPFL, she became Associate Professor in 2019 and Full Professor in 2021.
Some of her discoveries contributed to the initiation of IFM Due, Boston, US, of which she is a scientific co-founder. She is a member to the scientific advisory board of IFM Therapeutics, Boston, US.
Andrea Ablasser received the Dr. Josef Steiner Cancer Award (2021), the Friedrich Miescher Award (2021) and the William B. Coley Award (2020), among various other awards and prizes. She was elected EMBO Member in 2019.
EMBO is an organization of more than 1800 leading researchers that promotes excellence in the life sciences. The major goals of the organization are to support talented researchers at all stages of their careers, stimulate the exchange of scientific information, and help build a European research environment where scientists can achieve their best work.
EMBO helps young scientists to advance their research, promote their international reputations and ensure their mobility. Courses, workshops, conferences and scientific journals disseminate the latest research and offer training in techniques to maintain high standards of excellence in research practice. EMBO helps to shape science and research policy by seeking input and feedback from our community and by following closely the trends in science in Europe. For more information: www.embo.org