16.04.18 15:20

Recognition for outstanding early career researcher

Evolutionary biologist Eva Nowack awarded Heinz Maier-Leibnitz Prize 2018


Dr. Eva Nowack, evolutionary biologist and head of the Emmy Noether Junior Research Group “Microbial Symbiosis and Organelle Evolution” is one of the winners of the Heinz Maier-Leibnitz Prize 2018. Germany's most important prize for early career researchers (endowed with € 20,000 per winner) is awarded annually by the German Research Foundation (DFG) and the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) to young scientists who have gained an excellent reputation at international level as a result of their research work.

Heinz Meier-Leibnitz award 2018: Dr. Eva Nowack (Photo: Ellen Barbara Reitz/HHU).

A total of 140 researchers from all disciplines were nominated this year. Dr. Eva Nowack will receive the award on 29 May in Berlin - together with nine other prize winners.

Eva C. M. Nowack has led an Emmy Noether Junior Research Group on the early stages in the evolution of an organelle since 2014. She is investigating how eukaryotes acquired the capacity to perform photosynthesis and entered into a community with bacterial cells in the process. With her work, Nowack has made a significant contribution to a better understanding of organelle evolution.

She already began studying how cell organelles originate from prokaryotic antecedents through endosymbiosis during her doctoral thesis. Such genesis is known for the mitochondria and the photosynthetic organelles (plastids) of algae and higher plants. It is assumed that a single endosymbiotic event that occurred between one and two billion years ago was responsible for each of these two organelles. Nowack successfully proved the existence of an additional plastid formation event which - from an evolutionary perspective - is very much younger. She was able to show that the photosynthetic organelle of the amoeba Paulinella chromatophora evolved only about 100 million years ago. Nowack is now searching for other organisms with "evolutionary young" organelles and exploring the level of cellular integration of such organelles into their host cells.

About Dr. Eva Nowack:

Dr. Eva Nowack (born 1980) studied Biology in Cologne and completed her doctoral thesis there in 2009 in the framework of the International Genetics and Functional Genomics Graduate Programme. After several years as a researcher at the Carnegie Institution for Science in Stanford/USA, in June 2014 she took charge of the Emmy Noether Junior Research Group "Microbial Symbiosis and Organelle Evolution" at Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf.

Further information:

Dr. Eva Nowack
Emmy Noether Junior Research Group "Microbial Symbiosis and Organelle Evolution"
Tel.: +49(0)-211-81-13582
Email: e.nowack@hhu.de

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