Presentation of the Eppendorf Young Investigator Award 2011
27 May 2011

The 2011 award is the 16th research prize conferred by the Hamburg life science company to honor outstanding work in biomedical research in Europe. This year, the prize was awarded to Assistant Professor Suzan Rooijakkers, PhD, (University Medical Center Utrecht, Department of Medical Microbiology, Utrecht, The Netherlands).

With this award, Eppendorf supports young European scientists up to the age of 35. The Eppendorf Award for Young European Investigators is presented in partnership with the scientific journal Nature. The prize is awarded by an independent committee composed of Prof. Kai Simons (Chairman), Prof. Dieter Häussinger, Prof. Reinhard Jahn and Prof. Martin J. Lohse.

Suzan Rooijakkers, born in 1978, won the prize for her discoveries of how the pathogen Staphylococcus aureus evades immune attack to survive in the human host. She found out that the Staphylococci secrete proteins that block critical steps in the complement cascade. One such protein is the unique complement inhibitor SCIN that she found to inhibit the C3 convertase, which is required for the complement system to tag the bacteria for destruction.

The results of Suzan Rooijakkers are creating new inroads into developing drugs against inflammatory and infectious diseases.

Suzan Rooijakkers was not able to accept the Eppendorf Award personally due to health reasons. Prof. Jos van Strijp (University Medical Center Utrecht, Department of Medical Microbiology) received the Award on her behalf and presented her research work to the audience at the EMBL Advanced Training Centre in Heidelberg, Germany.

Dr. Axel Jahns (Vice President Marketing Support of Eppendorf AG) and Prof. Iain Mattaj (Director General EMBL) welcomed the audience of 80 guests from the scientific community, related industry and the press. The laudatio honoring Suzan Rooijakkers’ achievements was held by Prof. Kai Simons, Director Emeritus of the Max-Planck-Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics in Dresden, Germany.

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