25 January 2012

Protein researcher receives prestigious European award

Prize winning protein research

Professor Matthias Mann has just received the prestigious Louis-Jeantet Prize for medicine for his outstanding results in areas such as cancer research. His work has significant therapeutic implications that could improve the diagnosis and treatment of for instance cancerous tumours.

Technology today allows us to analyse a human genome in a short amount of time, and Professor Matthias Mann works with advanced analytical methods, which in the long term can characterise proteins and their interactions in the human organism – the proteome.

Proteomics is a very promising area of research in the fields of medicine and biology. By characterising human proteome, it is possible to analyse of an entire set of proteins expressed in a cell or organism. This allows the possibility of comparing healthy tissue with for example cancer tissue, and thus become more aware of which proteins are involved in the development of specific diseases. Photo: Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry

“Together with my colleagues, I have developed a method for a fast and very precise analysis of proteins in cancerous tumours, which is currently being tested for clinical use,” says Professor Matthias Mann.

Researchers want to find protein biomarkers that can determine how aggressive a patient’s cancer illness will develop. This way, medical science will in the long term be able to customise more effective treatments.

”There is great potential in the field of proteomics research – in terms of analysing proteins and their interactions, but also when we study the effect of genome variation between humans at the functional level. I predict that this area of research in particular will grow significantly in the upcoming years,” says Professor Mann.

Analytical method vital for research

Professor and protein researcher Matthias Mann has his workplace is Europe. He is Research Director at the Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Protein Research at the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Copenhagen, and is the Director of the Department of Proteomics and Signal Transduction at the Max-Planck-Institute of Biochemistry in Martinsried.

Matthias Mann has just been awarded the prestigious Louis-Jeanet prize in medicine, which has also been received by many Nobel Prize winners. The prize consists of – besides the honour – approximately € 580,000, which is donated by the Swiss Louis-Jeantet Foundation.

Matthias Mann’s scientific research has made it possible to study proteins with the same efficiency that previously was only possible in genetic material. Before, it would be a great challenge to analyse a peptide - short polymers of amino acid monomers linked by peptide bonds – but today thousands of peptides can be analysed in a very short amount of time with the help of so-called mass spectrometry.

“Matthias Mann is an international heavyweight within the field of proteomics, and he is a great asset for the overall protein research at the University of Copenhagen – I sincerely congratulate him on the very prestigious award,” says Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences, Ulla Wever.

Recently, Matthias Mann has also received the prestigious German Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize, which is awarded annually by the German research fund. It is the greatest German research prize, and consists of a grant worth € 2,5 million.

Contact information

Professor Matthias Mann
Telephone: +45 35 32 50 27 or +49 (0)89 8578 2558 (PA)