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Eppendorf Award for Young European Investigators 2023 Goes to Maurice Michel, Sweden

The winner of 2023 Eppendorf Award for Young European Investigators, Maurice Michel.
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This year, the Hamburg based life sciences company Eppendorf SE is awarding its prestigious research prize for the 28th time. The independent jury chaired by Prof. Reinhard Jahn selected Dr. Maurice Michel, Science for Life Laboratory, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden as the winner of the Eppendorf Award for Young European Investigators 2023.

Maurice Michel, born 1986, receives the 20,000 euro award for his research on artificial functions of DNA repair enzymes for the treatment of Disease. Dr. Michel showed that binding of a small molecule to the active site of a DNA repair enzyme not only increases its activity but also prompts it to carry out a reaction not found in the free protein, leading to enhanced DNA repair after oxidative damage.

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"These ground-breaking discoveries may have far-reaching applications in the treatment of cancer or age-related degeneration“, the judges said.

Maurice Michel: "It is an immense honour and I feel humbled to be awarded with the 2023 Eppendorf Award. This would not have been possible without the contribution and spirit of many scientists, be it colleagues or collaborators, as well as mentors and an incredible family I call mine. The award recognises the potential of manipulating enzymatic functions in living cells at will. Using small molecule organocatalysts, we installed new biochemical reactions within an enzyme and have thus succeeded in rewriting the base excision repair pathway. Our research now focuses on a broadening of this technology base by investigating other enzymes and understand biochemical reaction pathways and their biological consequences. Rerouting or reducing oxidative DNA damage depending on individual needs could serve as a new strategy for the development of the precision therapeutics of the future.“

The award ceremony took place on June 22, 2023, at the Advanced Training Center of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg, Germany.