The Sponsorship Society Award of the German Primate Center (DPZ) is awarded annually to outstanding young scientists who conduct research with or on primates. It is endowed with a six-month scholarship at a research institute of their choice and a cash prize of 1000 euros. This year we have two winners: Birgit Westernströer from the University Hospital Münster in Münster and Gisela Kopp from the DPZ in Göttingen. The award ceremony as well as presentations by the award winners will be held on January 26, 2016 at 16:00 in the Auditorium of the German Primate Center, Kellnerweg 4, in Göttingen. Guests are welcome to attend.
Birgit Westernströer (34) researched stem cells in the testicles of mice, common marmosets and humans at the Centre of Reproductive Medicine and Andrology. Testicular stem cells is the reason why men are fertile their entire life. Ms. Westernströer's research into the development and regulation of stem cells in testicles, is therefore an important contribution to the understanding of male infertility as well as to the development of therapies at a cellular level. She completed her PhD thesis at the end of 2014 and continued to work as a researcher at the institute. "I will use this scholarship for training at Brian Hermann's laboratory. He is a renowned expert in the research of testicular stem cells in primates in the USA", says Birgit Westernströer.
The relationship between genes and behavior is the subject of the other laureate, Gisela Kopp (31) from the German Primate Center. As part of her PhD thesis at the University of Göttingen and the German Primate Center, she did her research on Guinea baboons in West Africa. With the help of modern molecular genetics and bioinformatics methods, it has been found that females migrating from the group can characterize the genetic structure of the baboon group. "The results of Ms. Kopp is a contribution to a better understanding of the evolution of primates and thus to that of humans", says Julia Fischer of the German Primate Center. Gisela Kopp will use the scholarship to further her knowledge on the application of genomic methods.
"Ms. Westernstöer and Ms. Kopp have conducted outstanding scientific work, which underlines the importance of studies on primates in biological and medical research", is how the Scientific Advisory Board of the DPZ justified their selection. The members of the Scientific Advisory board are responsible for selecting the winners. The award presented by the DPZ Sponsorship Society is one of the most prestigious for young scientists in Germany. It is awarded by the Sponsorship Society of the DPZ, a non-profit organization that supports research on and with primates and provides assistance for young scientists.