21-05-2012: The 2012 Eppendorf Award is the 17th research prize conferred by the Hamburg life science company. This year it was presented to Elizabeth Murchison, Ph.D. (Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, Hinxton, Cambridge, United Kingdom). The official Award ceremony took place at the EMBL Advanced Training Centre in Heidelberg, Germany, on May 9, 2012.
With the 15,000 Euro Eppendorf Young Investigator Award which was established in 1995, Eppendorf AG honors outstanding work in biomedical research and supports young scientists in Europe up to the age of 35. The Eppendorf Award is presented in partnership with the scientific journal Nature.
The Award winner is selected by an independent committee composed of Prof. Reinhard Jahn (Chair), Prof. Dieter Häussinger, Prof. Maria Leptin and Prof. Martin J. Lohse.
Elizabeth Murchison, born 1980, receives the prize for her discoveries concerning a deadly cancer that is spreading among the endemic population of Tasmanian devils in Tasmania and threatening the survival of the species. She found that the cancers are all derived from the same clone, leading to the conclusion that cancer cells are physically transferred between animals.
The results obtained by Elizabeth Murchison are ground-breaking and offer novel approaches towards the understanding of clonal cancers. Furthermore, her findings have been instrumental for developing strategies aimed at saving the Tasmanian devil from extinction.