The Jung Foundation for Science and Research awards the 2023 Jung Prize for Medicine to Özlem Türeci
Stefan Rose-John receives a prize for his life’s work and Achmed Mrestani is awarded as young researcher
Hamburg, 4 May 2023. New treatments against cancer, autoimmune diseases, migraine and epilepsy – these are some of the areas covered by the research results of this year’s award winners from the Jung Foundation for Science and Research. With their groundbreaking work, Professor Özlem Türeci, Professor Stefan Rose-John and Dr Achmed Mrestani have made a significant contribution to alleviating the suffering of patients in the future. They will be honoured for this work by the Jung Foundation for Science and Research at an awards ceremony held on 4 May at the Anglo-German Club in Hamburg. With the Jung Prize for Medicine, the Jung Gold Medal for Medicine and the Jung Career Advancement Award, the Jung Foundation presents three awards every year to recognise cutting-edge medical work undertaken by outstanding physicians and researchers. With a total sum of 540,000 euros, they are among the most highly endowed medical awards in Europe.
This year, the prestigious Jung Prize for Medicine goes to the physician, scientist and founder Professor Özlem Türeci from BioNTech. She receives the award for her pioneering research into immunology and mRNA technology. Her research not only contributed to the development of the first approved vaccine against COVID-19, but also brought potential new personalised treatments for cancer patients from research into clinical development. At present, treatment is mainly focused on conventional chemotherapy, radiotherapy and surgery. Along with the award, Özlem Türeci receives 300,000 euros, which she can use for further research as she sees fit.
With the 2023 Jung Gold Medal for Medicine, the Jung Foundation for Science and Research is honouring one of the most widely recognised and cited German scientists, both within Germany and internationally. Professor Stefan Rose-John, most recently active at the University of Kiel, receives the award for his groundbreaking scientific work on the signalling effect of the interleukin-6 cytokine and the clinical application of his findings in inflammatory medicine and oncology. His research has already facilitated the development of new types of medication and treatment approaches and will enable direct benefits for patients in the future. This makes him the perfect recipient of the Jung Medal, which honours the life’s work of scientists who have made, and continue to make, significant contributions to medical advancement. Along with the prize, Stefan Rose-John will receive a scholarship of 30,000 euros, which he can award to a young researcher of his choice.
The 2023 Jung Career Advancement Award goes to a researcher who has examined the previously largely unexplored influence of point mutations in the CACNA1A gene on the architecture and function of synapses and who hopes that this will provide new insight into pathogenesis as well as possible approaches to future treatments for epilepsy and headache disorders: Dr Achmed Mrestani from the Clinic and Polyclinic for Neurology at University of Leipzig Medical Center. With his work, which he has undertaken as a clinician scientist as part of a collaboration between the Neurological Clinic and the Rudolf Schönheimer Institute of Biochemistry in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Leipzig, the young physician and scientist attracted the attention of the Jung Foundation and will now receive a total of 210,000 euros over the next three years which he can use to finance his own research project. With this award, the Jung Foundation for Science and Research also strives to support young physicians in addition to recognising established scientists.