At the 76th annual meeting of the DPG in Berlin 2012, Europhysics Letters (represented by Prof. Schreiber, on the first two photos in the middle) and the Biological Physics Division of the German Physical Society (represented by Prof. Schwarz, on the photos on the left) awarded three presentation awards for outstanding scientific achievements in the context of the poster sessions. The three recipients have been selected by three different committees, each comprising at least three experienced scientists. The awards went to
- Mr. Dr. Tihamer Geyer, research scientist at the University of the Saarland at Saarbrücken (Helms group)
- Mrs. Sarah Schwarz G. Henriques, PhD student from the University of Göttingen (Köster group)
- Mrs. Olivia Stiehl, diploma student from the University of Bayreuth (Weiss group)
Laudatio Dr. Tihamer Geyer
The first award goes to Dr. Tihamer Geyer (Universität des Saarlandes at Saarbrücken) for his contribution "A coarse-grained model for protein backbone dynamics". In his poster, Dr. Tihamer Geyer presented a new conceptual approach to study protein folding by a coarse-grained (mesoscale) approach that can be mapped easily and reproducibly back and forth to atomistic models. The dynamics of the model includes all relevant conservative forces and also respects hydrodynamics via an implicit scheme. With this approach, protein folding can be studied over several length and time scales with reasonable computational effort. The poster as well as his presentation explained the approach and results in a very clear manner.
Laudatio Sarah Schwarz G. Henriques
The second award goes to Mrs. Sarah Schwarz G. Henriques (Göttingen University) for her contribution “Force generation in blood platelets". In this study, Sarah Schwarz G. Henriques measured the force generated by individual blood platelets – cells, which are important in blot clotting where they contract fibrin networks and thus help to seal wounds. While there have recently been a number of studies looking at the contraction of the entire fibrin gel with platelets inside, this is the first study where the force generation of individual platelets has been measured, using traction force microscopy and fluorescence microscopy. The result is surprising because platelets contract uniformly and not as a force dipole, as was previously assumed. This is an important study as it sheds light on fundamental aspects of a physiologically relevant process, which was aesthetically well presented as a poster and convincingly explained in person by the awardee.
Laudatio Olivia Stiehl
The third award goes to Mrs. Olivia Stiehl (diploma student in the research group of Prof. Matthias Weiss at Universität Bayreuth) for her contribution "Kinetics of DNA hairpin-loops in crowded and non-crowded fluids". Using a combination of fluorescence correlation spectroscopy and fluorescence energy transfer, Olivia Stiehl investigated the kinetics of thermally induced DNA hairpin-loop fluctuations. Thereby, she paid particular attention to the influence of macromolecular crowding on the time constant of opening/closing of the DNA loops as well as on the fraction of open DNA loops. It is expected that an improved understanding of the kinetics of hairpin loops may help to improve, for instance, the efficiency of antisense drugs. Olivia Stiehl's most appealing poster as well as her clear presentation explained the approach and results in an excellent manner.