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2019 Sartorius & Science Prize for Regenerative Medicine & Cell Therapy 

Present your Cellular Therapy & Regenerative Medicine Research to the Global Scientific Community

Exceptional researchers wanted for the Sartorius & Science Prize 2019

In April, the Grand Prize Winner and the three finalist of the 2018 Sartorius & Science Prize for Regenerative Medicine & Cell Therapy will be ceremoniously presented with their awards during the Research Xchange Forum on Transformative Technologies: CAR-T Cell Therapy.

Are you a representative of the upcoming generation of thought leaders in your field? Then, go ahead and use this high-potential opportunity to introduce your research and yourself to the world! Currently, we are again looking for outstanding scientists and their groundbreaking research to be honored with the 3rd annual 2019 Sartorius & Science Prize for Regenerative Medicine & Cell Therapy. The work of the applicants will be assessed and nominated by an esteemed panel of experts assembled by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and Science. We look forward to your application.

Send your application starting April 1st through October 1st 2019.

Enter now

About the prize

The Sartorius & Science Prize for Regenerative Medicine & Cell Therapy is an annual prize aimed at supporting and encouraging scientists focused on basic or translational research that advances medical progress in regenerative medicine and cell therapy. Established in 2017, the prize is awarded for outstanding research performed by the applicant and as a mutual endeavor to raise awareness for the field and its fundamental significance for our future.

The Grand Prize winner of the Sartorius & Science Prize for Regenerative Medicine & Cell Therapy is awarded US$25,000 and a publication of his or her essay in Science (print & online). Also, up to three runners-up will be selected and awarded with US $ 5000 per runner-up and publication of their essay in Science (online).The winner and the runners-up will be invited to attend the formal award ceremony. Furthermore, a 5-year AAAS membership and online subscription to Science, accompanied by other perks and benefits from Sartorius, are awarded!

Eligible Fields
Entries can be made in the fields of regenerative medicine, cell therapy, gene therapy, immunotherapy as well as materials and tissue engineering.

Eligibility
Every individual scientist who received his or her PhD|MD within the past 10 years may apply.

Required documents
Please submit a 1,000-word essay describing your research and its implications for regenerative medicine and cell therapy as well as supporting documents.

Next application
April 1st until October 1st 2019  

Grand Prize Winner and Finalists of the 2018 Sartorius & Science Prize for Regenerative Medicine & Cell Therapy

Yaron Fuchs, PhD

Technion Israel Institute of Technology, Israel
Sartorius & Science Grand Prize Winner

Biography:

Born in Haifa, Israel, Dr. Fuchs is an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Biology, the Lokey Interdisciplinary Center for Life Sciences & Engineering and the Technion Integrated Cancer Center. Dr. Fuchs is also a Deloro Career Advancement Chair and an Alon Fellow.

He began his academic career at Haifa University where he received a B.Sc., followed by a direct Ph.D. track for outstanding students, which was conducted at the Technion Israel Institute of Technology. Upon completion of his doctorate degree, he performed his post-doctoral research at The Rockefeller University and Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Recently he returned to the Technion where he heads the Laboratory of Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine.

Dr. Fuchs has had a long-term interest in different modes of cell death and how they regulate diverse aspects of stem cell biology and stem cell-dependent processes. His research has taken advantage of state of the art mouse models where he manipulates and traces different stem cell populations.

Throughout his career, Dr. Fuchs has received more than 20 awards for his scientific excellence and his unique teaching style. He has published in leading scientific journals and has spoken nationally and internationally about his own research focusing on adult stem cells in regeneration and cancer.

Summary:

Adult stem cells are characterized by their ability to self-renew and differentiate into distinct cell types, positioning them as critical drivers of tissue replenishment and repair. While great strides have been made in our understanding of the various pathways that control the fate and function of stem cells, very little is known regarding the specific mechanisms that govern their elimination. By investigating the hair follicle and intestine, two systems which rely heavily on stem cells, I discovered key proteins that regulate stem cell apoptosis (programmed cell death). Importantly, I found that we can harness the incredible potential of stem cell apoptosis to drive tissue repair and regeneration. In this talk, I also discuss the effect dying cells have on their cellular environment and the critical non-apoptotic roles of proteins that have been classically considered to drive cell death.
It is my hope that these findings may be translated into novel stem cell and apoptosis-based approaches for regenerative medicine and tumor therapy.

C. Florian Bentziger, PhD

Quebec, Canada
Assistant Professor in the Department of Pharmacology-Physiology at Université de Sherbrooke 
Sartorius & Science Prize Finalist

Biography:

Florian Bentzinger is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Pharmacology-Physiology of the Université de Sherbrooke in Canada. His lab studies the skeletal muscle stem cell niche in health and disease. Florian received his master's and PhD degree in molecular biology with a minor in pharmaceutical biology under the supervision of Prof. Markus Rüegg from the University of Basel in Switzerland. During his early studies he focused on the molecular mechanisms underlying different forms of muscular dystrophy. He then became a postdoctoral researcher under the direction of Prof. Michael Rudnicki at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute (OHRI), Sprott Center for Stem Cell Research in Canada, and began to focus on the microenvironmental regulation of skeletal muscle stem cells. Before his appointment at the Université de Sherbrooke, Prof. Bentzinger held a permanent position in the Skeletal Muscle Aging Department of the Nestlé Institute of Health Sciences in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Summary:

Stem cells in adult tissues are controlled by intrinsic programming and extrinsic signals provided by the surrounding microenvironment, often referred to as the niche. Particularly, stem cells that maintain and repair skeletal muscle tissue are strongly dependent on extrinsic regulation. Fundamental properties of these cells, such as quiescence, self-renewal and the ability to differentiate, are largely determined by the composition of the niche. Diseases of the musculature lead to changes in the niche that negatively affect stem cell function. Importantly, alterations in the stem cell microenvironment also underlie the impaired regenerative capacity of muscle tissue that accompanies aging and certain multisystemic conditions. In spite of the importance of the muscle stem cell niche, its architecture and the regulatory signals it generates remain poorly understood. We recently started to systematically analyze the composition of the muscle stem cell niche and provide examples of how these insights can be exploited for therapeutic applications.

Ritu Raman, PhD

Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA
Postdoctoral Fellow at Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Sartorius & Science Prize Finalist

Biography:

Ritu Raman is a AAAS L’Oréal USA For Women in Science postdoctoral fellow in the lab of Prof. Robert Langer at MIT. She is passionate about understanding and utilizing the dynamic adaptive nature of biological systems, and aims to establish a lab designing responsive biohybrid implantable devices that improve human health and quality of life. Ritu graduated magna cum laude with a degree in Mechanical Engineering from Cornell University in 2012, and earned her M.S. (2013) and Ph.D. (2016) as an NSF Graduate Fellow from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She has received several awards for her commitment to scientific innovation, including being named to the Forbes 30 Under 30 list for Science, nominated as an Innovation and Technology Delegate to the International Achievement Summit, shortlisted for the Nature Research + Estée Lauder Inspiring Science Award, and awarded the Illinois Innovation $15k Prize. Ritu grew up in India, Kenya, and the United States, and learned to appreciate and thrive in diverse and dynamic environments. Her experiences have taught her that technical innovation drives positive social change, and this inspires her to democratize and diversify STEM education around the world. She is deeply invested in science communication, policy, and outreach, and has been recognized with several honors for her commitment to advancing underrepresented minorities in STEM, including receiving the highest collegiate honor from the Society of Women Engineers and being named the Cambridge Science Festival’s Curious Scientist of the Year.

Summary:

Disease or damage that limits the functionality of skeletal muscle severely impacts human health, mobility, and quality-of-life. There is thus a critical need to uncover the underlying structure and cell-cell communication that drives the formation, maturation, and responsive behaviors of muscle. We have developed a mesoscale in vitro skeletal muscle model that enables ready visualization of cell-cell communication and tissue-wide coordinative function. The model is composed of engineered tissue coupled to a flexible 3D printed skeleton. Contraction of the tissue deforms the skeleton, providing a straightforward visual and quantitative measure of tissue functionality. This enables testing the effect of various biochemical and mechanical stimuli and optimizing tissue viability, maturation timeline, and force production. Our model offered the first proof that light stimulation “exercise” of optogenetic muscle could enhance force production, and the first demonstration of bidirectional locomotion and rotation in an engineered skeletal muscle-powered system. It also served as a test platform to design and optimize a protocol to guide and accelerate muscle healing after induced damage. This system can be used to develop a deeper understanding of muscle development and adaptation, and we are optimistic these insights will aid efforts to replace and recover muscle loss-of-function in vivo.

Dr. Daniele VF Tauriello

Barcelona, Spain
Institute for Research in Biomedicine, Spain
Sartorius & Science Prize Finalist

Biography:

Daniele received his degrees (Chemistry and Biomolecular Sciences) and his doctorate (Cell Biology) from Utrecht University and the University Medical Centre Utrecht, the Netherlands. During his doctoral research, he used and developed biochemical tools to study molecular mechanisms in receptor-proximal Wnt signaling. While a postdoctoral fellow at the Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB) Barcelona, Spain, he developed an immunocompetent, metastatic and transplantable mouse model for intestinal cancer, and leveraged this new platform to uncover the immuno-evasive role of TGFβ in the tumour immune microenvironment of colorectal cancer metastasis. His work may contribute to an expanded efficacy of checkpoint inhibition therapy across patient cohorts and cancer types. In 2019, Daniele will set up his lab at the Radboud Institute for Molecular Life Sciences (RIMLS), Radboudumc in Nijmegen, the Netherlands. There he will continue his immuno-oncological work on overcoming stromal immune evasion mechanisms to improve immunotherapy in cancer.

Summary:

Metastatic cancer cells must reprogram the tumour stroma, or tumour microenvironment, before they can metastasize. Tumours must also contend with the immune system before they can spread. If the road to metastasis is full of obstacles, how is it so common? The answer probably lies in the fact that as cancer cells reorganize their environment, they thoroughly manipulate the stroma to not just shut down any recruited immune cells, but to suppress the mobilization of an effective immune response in the first place.

I generated a mouse model of metastatic colorectal cancer that recapitulates relevant characteristics of human metastatic disease, and that can be transplanted by the use of tumour organoids. Leveraging this immunocompetent platform, we demonstrated the role of TGFβ signaling in suppressing the immune response. Blockade of this pathway led to T-cell-mediated immunity, preventing metastatic initiation in the liver.

Moreover, TGFβ blockade rendered late-stage metastases susceptible to immune checkpoint inhibition treatment. Whereas this form of therapy failed by itself—as it has in the clinic for most patients with metastatic colorectal cancer—the combined therapy synergized to cure the majority of mice with advanced liver metastases. Thus, our results indicate that immunotherapies can be made more efficient for a wider range of patients by understanding and neutralizing immune evasion mechanisms in the tumour microenvironment.

About Sartorius and the field of regenerative medicine & cell therapy

The Sartorius Group is a leading international pharmaceutical and laboratory equipment provider with two divisions: Bioprocess Solutions (BPS) and Lab Products & Services (LPS).

Biopharmaceuticals are manufactured using living cells in complex, lengthy and expensive procedures. BPS focuses on single-use solutions which help customers produce biotech medications and vaccines safely and efficiently. In fact, Sartorius has been pioneering and setting the standard for single-use products which are extensively used in all biopharmaceutical manufacturing processes.

Backed by an extensive offering of premium laboratory instruments, consumables and services, the LPS division concentrates on serving the needs of laboratories in life science research, both in industry and academic institutes. Through recent strategic acquisitions, the portfolio was further enhanced with bioanalytical platforms to support the emerging needs and complexities of the regenerative medicine and cell therapy industries. New innovative bioanalytical tools help scientists find faster answers to fundamental and complex biological questions in drug discovery applications, complemented by end-to-end production platforms for cell expansion and harvesting, and the crucial safety aspects of quality control.

Founded in 1870, Sartorius earned a sales revenue of more than 1.57 billion euros in 2018. Currently, more than 8,100 people work at the Group’s approximately 60 manufacturing and sales sites, serving customers around the globe.

About Science/AAAS

The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) is the world's largest general scientific society, and publisher of the journals, Science, Science Translational Medicine, Science Signaling, Science Advances, Science Immunology, and Science Robotics. AAAS was founded in 1848, and includes some 254 affiliated societies and academies of science, serving 10 million individuals. Science, founded by Thomas Edison, has the largest paid circulation of any peer-reviewed general science journal in the world, with an estimated total readership of more than 400,000.

The non-profit AAAS — www.aaas.org — is open to all and fulfills its mission to "advance science and serve society" through initiatives in science policy, international programs, science education, and more. Science's daily online news is always free to the public, as are editorials, any paper with broad public health significance, and all research articles 12 months after publication. Science further participates in various efforts to provide free access for scientists in the world's poorest countries.