Four honored scientists from BW – SWR Aktuell

Four scientists from Baden-Württemberg received the most valuable research award in Germany. This is your job.

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It is considered the most important research funding award in Germany: the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize. Since 1986, it has been awarded by the German Research Foundation to scientists in various research fields to be able to expand research and improve working conditions. Each winner of the award receives 2.5 million euros for the relevant research. The 2022 awards ceremony was held on Thursday. Among others, two biologists, a biologist and a historian from Baden-Württemberg. Research topics range from late antiquity to animal ecosystems and swarming behavior, and ending with human DNA.

Research on the building blocks of life

Eileen Furlong has been dealing with the latter for a long time. At the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg, he conducts research on the so-called enhancers that are part of the genome. They have long been underestimated by science. But today we know that changes to the regions of the enhancer genes can lead to the development of cancer cells. They are also important for embryonic development.

Here you can read in detail what Eileen Furlong does, what she is honored for and what the topic means:

Eileen Furlong is a molecular biologist at EMBL Heidelberg and will receive this year’s Leibniz Award for research into certain gene structures – the so-called amplifiers.

Keeping swarms of animals in sight

Iain Couzin also works in the field of biology and also receives an award. Director at the Institute of Animal Behavior Max Planck in Constance studies the swarming behavior of animals and found interesting similarities to us humans. However, since it is not so easy to keep an eye on an entire swarm or collective, Couzin’s team works with virtual reality aquariums, among others.

Read here how it works and where the award winner’s passion for biology comes from:

Iain Couzin studies how animals behave in large groups, in so-called collectives.  (Photo: SWR, SWR Knowledge / Veronika Simon)

Iain Couzin is the director of the Institute of Animal Behavior. Max Planck in Konstanz. It examines how animals behave in large groups, known as collectives.

Ecosystems influenced by global environmental changes

A third recipient from Baden-Württemberg and in the field of biology research is Almut Arneth, professor of biology at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT). She received the award for research into ecosystems influenced by global environmental changes. Arneth brings his expertise to the reports of the World Diversity Council and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. It has shown, inter alia, that after 2020 biodiversity will be massively threatened by climate change and therefore many of the goals of international organizations will not be achievable.

That is why KIT in Karlsruhe is particularly proud of the work of Arneth:


Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Award 2022 for Almut Arneth from KIT.  (photo: Press Office, Gabi Zachmann, KIT)

Professor Almut Arneth from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) will receive the Leibniz Prize on Thursday. With 2.5 million euros, it is the most valuable science award in Germany.

The research enables a new assessment of late antiquity

Unlike Arneth, the Tübingen historian Mischa Meier looks back. Thanks to his work, we now have a new, more differentiated understanding of Late Antiquity, as justified by the German Research Foundation. Meier’s research shows that the influence of Late Antiquity lasted much longer than previously thought – until at least the 8th century.

You can read about the role played by the locust plague, volcanic eruption and the plague here:

Tübingen historian Mischa Meier receives the Leibniz Prize, which is gifted with 2.5 million euros for his discoveries of Late Antiquity.  (Photo: Picture-alliance / Report services, Picture Alliance / dpa / Mischa Meier)

Tübingen historian Mischa Meier receives the Leibniz Prize, which is gifted with 2.5 million euros for his discoveries of Late Antiquity.

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