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Walther Flemming Award 2018 for Clemens Plaschka

21 Aug 2018

IMP Group Leader Clemens Plaschka is one of two young scientists to receive the Walther Flemming Award 2018 by the German Society for Cell Biology (DGZ). The prize is bestowed annually upon researchers under 39 years of age for outstanding scientific merits in cell biological research.

Clemens Plaschka joined the IMP as a Group Leader in April 2018. His lab combines structural and biochemical methods to study messenger RNA, the molecule that conveys genetic information between DNA and the protein production machinery. The aim is to understand how macromolecular complexes facilitate and regulate the maturation of messenger RNA. To investigate these mechanisms, Plaschka applies advanced cryo-electron microscopy methods, which allow the visualisation of cellular processes in near-atomic resolution.

“Throughout my career I have aimed to combine biochemistry and structural biology tools, to dissect the mechanisms of gene expression in molecular detail”, says Clemens Plaschka. “I am absolutely delighted to receive the Flemming Award and am very grateful to my colleagues and mentors for their continuous support.”

Clemens Plaschka studied biochemistry at Imperial College London before pursuing his PhD in the lab of Patrick Cramer at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich and the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry. There he made several contributions to the understanding of gene transcription in yeast. For his postdoctoral studies, Plaschka joined the group of Kiyoshi Nagai at the Laboratory of Molecular Biology (LMB) in Cambridge, one of the major centres for cryo-EM development. His work in Cambridge contributed to the mechanistic understanding of RNA processing by a large molecular machine, called the spliceosome.

The Walther Flemming Award is named after one of the pioneers of cell biological research. In 1875, Walther Flemming delivered a detailed description of processes during cell division, which he named mitosis. The prize is worth 2000 Euros and is sponsored by the European Journal of Cell Biology. It will be handed over on the occasion of the DGZ international Meeting in Leipzig on September 17.

More about the Plaschka Lab.

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