Dr. Victor Sourjik, Centre for Molecular Biology at the University of Heidelberg, has been awarded the Chica and Heinz Schaller Award 2007. Sourjik received the prize for his groundbreaking and innovative research in the field of cellular signalling and as support for his research project on the analysis of bacterial chemotaxis. The award comes with a purse of €100,000, which the beneficiary can use to carry out future research projects.
Dr. Victor Sourjik studied molecular biology and physics at the Institute of Physics and Technology in Moscow and spent three years carrying out research in the department of Professor R. Schmitt before he received his PhD at the University of Regensburg in 1997. After five years of post-doctoral research, Sourjik returned to Germany in 2003, where he accepted a position as group leader at the Centre for Molecular Biology at the University of Heidelberg. Investigation of signal transduction processes using chemotaxis as modelSourjik is interested in investigating the molecular interactions that occur when cells perceive environmental signals and their subsequent amplification and processing inside the cell. The signalling processes play an important part in the function of cells. Disorders in the cellular signal transduction, caused for example by genetic mutations or infectious pathogens, greatly affect disease processes. In order to study these processes, Dr. Sourjik’s group of researchers used bacterial chemotaxis as a model. The system is relatively simple and provides the unique possibility of quantitatively analysing the steps of the signal transduction process and developing theoretical models for cellular circuits. The results gained provide new insights and starting points that contribute to a deeper understanding of signal transduction in complex systems such as human cells. The Chica and Heinz Schaller AwardThe C.H.S. Foundation for the Promotion of Biomedical Research supports basic biomedical research at the universities of Heidelberg and Hamburg. Financing is provided with minimal bureaucratic red tape in order to enable researchers to pursue innovative measures that would otherwise be rendered difficult in the current university structure. The Foundation specifically seeks to support outstanding young scientists by providing them with funds that they are free to use for independent research projects.