June 18, 2018

Dr. Katharina Overlack und Dr. Zhi-Jun Jia awarded with the Otto Hahn Medal

As part of this year's annual meeting of the Max Planck Society, our former PhD students Katharina Overlack and Zhi-Jun Jia were awarded with the Otto Hahn Medal for their outstanding scientific achievements.  Otto Hahn Medal Awardees 2018

Katharina was working in the group of Prof. Dr. Andrea Musacchio on the role of the Bub1, BubR1, and Bub3 proteins in the control of the mitotic checkpoint. She could show that Bub1 enhances binding of Bub3 to phosphorylated kinetochores and that kinetochore localization of BubR1 relies on direct hetero-dimerization with Bub1. Small sequence differences in Bub1 and BubR1 direct Bub3 to different phosphorylated targets in the spindle assembly checkpoint signaling cascade. “The strongest motivation for my work is my curiosity. I want to understand the function of biological processes in detail in order to also gain a better understanding of what goes wrong in these processes in human diseases.” Currently, Katharina is a research associate at the Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care in Cologne.

Zhi-Jun Jia was awarded for the synthesis of new natural product-inspired compound collections, and a new, powerful and broadly variable diene-ligand class for enantioselective C-H activation. Furthermore, he developed a novel enantioselective approach for the synthesis of a compound collection inspired by natural pyrrolizidine alkaloids showing antiplasmodial activity. “Influenced by my father as a carpenter, I am always enthusiastic about building new things in my own way. In my research, it gives me great pleasure to construct molecule scaffolds by developing new chemical methods and strategies.” Zhi-Jun is currently a postdoctoral fellow at the California Institute of Technology.


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