Every day the trillions of cells in our bodies ensure that we are able to see, think, speak and move. How does each cell ‘know’ what to do? How can an organism arise from millions of nanometer-sized molecules although there is no blueprint? What actually is ‘life’? For centuries, philosophers and natural scientists have been trying to solve this mystery. Many questions remain unresolved to this day.
We want to know how the building blocks of the cells organize themselves and ensure that certain chemical reactions occur at the right time in the right place – or how errors lead to the development of diseases like cancer. To achieve this, we are studying the relevant processes on multiple levels – from single molecules and larger protein complexes to whole cells.
On 9 November, Prof. Dr. Andrea Musacchio was awarded the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize 2020 by the German Research Foundation (DFG) for his pioneering structural biological work on the distribution of genetic material during cell division. The prize is endowed with 2.5 million euros and is the most important scientific award in Germany.