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Prof. Dr. Stefan Jentsch posthumously receives Otto-Warburg-Medal 2017

The Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (GBM), Elsevier, and BBA honor the cell biologist for his groundbreaking research on the ubiquitin system 

Bochum, 25 September 2017: Yesterday, for the first time in its long history, the Otto-Warburg-Medal was awarded posthumously to Prof. Dr. Stefan Jentsch. With the well-renowned science award, the Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (GBM) and its partners, information analytics company Elsevier and Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA), recognized the cell biologist’s research on the protein ubiquitin and its role as a molecular switch in a variety of cellular processes. 

The Otto-Warburg-Medal is considered to be the highest award in the area of basic research in biochemistry in Germany. The award promotes outstanding scientific excellence and encourages ground-breaking achievements on an international level in the field of fundamental biochemical and molecular biological research. The prize is intended to commemorate the achievements of the eminent researcher Otto Heinrich Warburg. This year, the medal was awarded for the 50th time.

Prof. Jentsch’s work provided new insights into the molecular mechanisms of the mutagenesis, which are crucial for understanding the development of genetic diseases and cancer. “Prof. Jentsch was an important scientist who will continue to influence modern cell research, even after his death,” said Prof. Johannes Herrmann, President of the GBM. “We are humbled to posthumously honor him with the Otto-Warburg-Medal today.”

Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Baumeister, Director of the Department Molecular Structural Biology at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry (MPI) and a colleague of Stefan Jentsch’s, added: “The Otto-Warburg-Medal is the most highly esteemed award in biochemistry in Germany. I remember well that Prof. Jentsch was truly excited when he was informed that he would receive it.”

Stefan Jentsch’ brother, Prof. Thomas Jentsch, accepted the award. The Elsevier/BAA-sponsored prize money of 25,000 Euros, which the Otto-Warburg-Medal is endowed with, will be donated to the organization Doctors Without Borders.

Prof. Jentsch passed away at the age of 61 in October 2016. The former Director of the Department Molecular Cell Biology at the MPI in Martinsried received several awards for his research on the importance of the ubiquitin system, inter alia the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize by the DFG (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft) and the Louis-Jeantet Prize for Medicine.

“With the Otto-Warburg-Medal, we want to honor outstanding scientific achievements, such as those by Prof. Jentsch,” Angelika Lex, Vice President Global Strategic Networks DACH at Elsevier, explained. “However, besides his research, Prof. Jentsch was also known for his commitment to help young researchers. We attach also great importance to supporting young researchers, it is what connects Elsevier and the GBM.”

The Otto Warburg Medal has been awarded since 1963 and enjoys great international prestige. Previous winners include leading international scholars, such as Prof. Randy Schekman of the University of California, Berkeley and Prof. Emmanuelle Charpentier. 

Since 2012, information analytics company Elsevier and the scientific journal Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA) have been exclusive partners of the Otto-Warburg-Medal and sponsor the award.

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Media Contacts:
Dr. Anke Lischeid
Managing Director, GBM
+49 69 660567-12


Stefanie Schieke
Associate Director, APCO Worldwide
+49 30 59 000 20-23

Video in honor of Prof. Stefan Jentsch on the GBM Website

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