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Molecular Biologist Bruce Edgar and Stem Cell Researcher Andreas Trumpp Acknowledged for Achievements in Life Sciences

No. 54a | 25/10/2011

Heidelberg researchers elected to become members of the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO)

Prof. Bruce Edgar

Molecular biologist Prof. Dr. Bruce Edgar and cancer and stem cell researcher Prof. Dr. Andreas Trumpp have been elected to EMBO membership in recognition of their outstanding scientific contribution. EMBO’s approximately 1,500 members are leaders in their research fields around the world.

Bruce Edgar leads a department within the alliance of the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) and the Center for Molecular Biology (ZMBH) of Heidelberg University. With his team, he focuses primarily on the mechanisms of cell division. In their studies of the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster, the scientists have discovered a number of genes and signaling pathways which regulate growth and multiplication of cells in the living organism in various organs and tissues. Last year, Edgar was awarded a five-year European Research Council Advanced Grant of 2.68 million euros for his research work. Bruce Edgar studied biology at Swarthmore College, Pennsylvania, and earned a Ph.D. in genetics from the University of Washington in Seattle. He subsequently worked at the University of California in San Francisco, U.S.A., and at the University of Oxford, U.K. From 1993 to 2009, he served in various capabilities at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle and as a Professor at the University of Washington, interrupted in 2000/2001 by a stay at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg, Germany. In 2009, Heidelberg University and DKFZ jointly succeeded within the DKFZ-ZMBH Alliance in recruiting the U.S.A.-born scientist from Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle to Heidelberg.

Prof. Andreas Trumpp

Andreas Trumpp is head of the Division of Stem Cells and Cancer at DKFZ, which is also part of the DKFZ-ZMBH Alliance, and is an internationally renowned expert for cancer stem cells. These cells are suspected to be involved in carcinogenesis, tumor growth and metastasis. They are often resistant to conventional therapies such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy and, therefore, are also suspected to be responsible for the recurrence of tumors after seemingly successful treatment. Trumpp and his group were able to show that dormant stem cells can be woken up by treatment with interferon-alpha and thus be made susceptible to subsequent chemotherapy. In the blood of breast cancer patients, Trumpp and his co-workers have also detected metastasis-forming tumor stem cells. By characterizing these in detail, they intend to develop targeted drugs that prevent metastasis or efficiently fight existing metastatic tumors. Trumpp is also director of HI-STEM, a non-profit institute founded jointly by DKFZ and the Dietmar Hopp Foundation as part of the Top Cluster competition. Trumpp, who was born in Heilbronn, Germany, completed his Ph.D. thesis at EMBL in Heidelberg, before he went on to work at the University of California in San Francisco and the Swiss Institute for Experimental Cancer Research in Lausanne. In 2008, he joined DKFZ.

The European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO), founded in 1964, advances basic research in molecular biology in Europe. New members are proposed and elected by other members in recognition of outstanding scientific achievements. EMBO Members include 57 Nobel Prize laureates, including Bruce A. Beutler and Jules A. Hoffmann, winners of this year’s Nobel Prize in Medicine, and Harald zur Hausen, Medicine Nobel Prize winner of
2008. This year, 46 life scientists from 14 countries have been recognized by being elected to EMBO membership.

With more than 3,000 employees, the German Cancer Research Center (Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum, DKFZ) is Germany’s largest biomedical research institute. DKFZ scientists identify cancer risk factors, investigate how cancer progresses and develop new cancer prevention strategies. They are also developing new methods to diagnose tumors more precisely and treat cancer patients more successfully. The DKFZ's Cancer Information Service (KID) provides patients, interested citizens and experts with individual answers to questions relating to cancer.

To transfer promising approaches from cancer research to the clinic and thus improve the prognosis of cancer patients, the DKFZ cooperates with excellent research institutions and university hospitals throughout Germany:

  • National Center for Tumor Diseases (NCT, 6 sites)
  • German Cancer Consortium (DKTK, 8 sites)
  • Hopp Children's Cancer Center (KiTZ) Heidelberg
  • Helmholtz Institute for Translational Oncology (HI-TRON Mainz) - A Helmholtz Institute of the DKFZ
  • DKFZ-Hector Cancer Institute at the University Medical Center Mannheim
  • National Cancer Prevention Center (jointly with German Cancer Aid)
The DKFZ is 90 percent financed by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research and 10 percent by the state of Baden-Württemberg. The DKFZ is a member of the Helmholtz Association of German Research Centers.


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