Annual Chica and Heinz Schaller Research Award for MPI Scientist Matthias Fischer
Posted January 23 2017
The Chica and Heinz Schaller Research Award is an annual prize given to a promising young scientist for achievements in the biomedical sciences. The 2016 award, which is endowed with 100,000 euros, goes to Dr. Matthias Fischer at the Max-Planck-Institute for Medical Research. The foundation honors his pioneering work on virus-host interactions in eukaryotic single cell organisms.

In his research, Dr. Matthias Fischer is engaged with so called giant viruses which stand out for their enormous complexity and predominantly infect eukaryotic single cell organisms, i.e. organisms whose cells have only one nucleus. Due to their particle and genome size, these viruses are comparable to bacteria and show a “fascinating variety”, according to the scientist. “With hundreds of genes, they are able to perform biochemical processes that are usually restricted to cellular organisms. Surprisingly, the giant viruses are parasitized, in turn, by smaller viruses”, Fischer adds. He is interested in the interactions between the giant and small virus and how they interact with their host cell. His research group discovered that certain organisms cooperate with the smaller virus to protect itself from the giant virus. A so-called virus-mediated immunity had been unknown so far, according to Fischer. The findings give deeper insight into the role of viruses in marine ecosystems.



The award ceremony will be held at Bioquant, INF 267, 4:30p.m. on January 27, 2017. Guests are welcome. 


The award program can be found here.

More information about the Chica and Heinz Schaller Foundation is available at  



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