Lauwers Award for Sarah Herberg
To mark the end of the annual Vienna BioCenter PhD Students’ Symposium, this year's Mattias Lauwers Award was presented to Sarah Herberg, a VBC PhD Student in the lab of Andrea Pauli at the IMP.
Lauwers laureate Sarah Herberg did her Master's degree in the lab of Olaf Stemmann at the University of Bayreuth. Prior to that, she had spent half a year as an intern in the group of Sir John Gurdon at the Gurdon Institute in Cambridge. In 2015, Sarah joined the IMP via the Vienna BioCenter PhD Programme and started working on her thesis-project under the supervision of Andrea Pauli.
During her PhD, Sarah studied fundamental aspects of fertilisation in the zebrafish Danio rerio. Together with her colleagues, she was able to identify a protein, Bouncer, that is responsible for mediating species-specific fertilisation in fish. The study, which is the first report of a protein in any organism allowing entry of another species' sperm, was published in SCIENCE in September 2018.
The Mattias Lauwers Award recognizes a student who has given the best seminar at a Vienna BioCenter Monday Seminar in the current year. The award is named after the late Mattias Lauwers, a talented young PhD Student in the group of David Keays, who tragically died in the course of a sports accident.
The Lauwers family created the award and the criteria for it aim to reflect Mattias’ dedication to research and presenting it to peers and colleagues. The students of the VBC PhD programme nominate who they consider the best speaker, and based on these nominations, the VBC PhD Steering Committee selects a laureate. The Lauwers family traditionally presents the award at the VBC PhD Symposium.