German Society for Developmental Biology (GfE) awards Daniel Wehner with the Hilde Mangold Science Prize

Daniel Wehner, research group leader at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Light, has been awarded the Young Research Award from the German Society of Developmental Biology. The prize recognizes outstanding research and activity in the field of developmental biology and is awarded every two years to early career stage researchers. Based on his findings in the field of neuroregeneration, Wehner has made a significant contribution to a better understanding of scar formation and regeneration after injuries to the central nervous system.

Prof Kerstin Bartscherer (University of Osnabrück) - President of the GfE (Society for Developmental Biology) and Dr. Daniel Wehner (Research Group Leader, Max-Planck-Zentrum für Physik und Medizin (@Dr. Thomas Thumberger).

Spinal cord injuries can lead to irreparable and permanent loss of function in humans as the injured nerve fibres do not regrow. However, some animal species such as the zebrafish can regenerate severed nerve pathways and restore motor functions. Why this is the case and which biochemical and biomechanical factors play a role in the nervous system’s wound healing process is the research topic of Daniel Wehner's team. The biotechnologist has shown that although the different species form scar-like wound tissue after injury, there are crucial differences in its biochemical composition and mechanical properties. The wound tissue in zebrafish is not only permissive to regrowing nerve fibres, but also necessary for the regeneration of nerve fibres. Furthermore, Daniel Wehner was able to identify specific proteins of the small leucine-rich proteoglycans (SLRPs) family as an important factor limiting nerve regeneration in mammals. However, the SLRPs are barely enriched in the wound tissue of zebrafish. The scientist combines methods of genetics with approaches in physics to decipher the biomechanical and biochemical role of the extracellular space in the regenerative context.


The award ceremony will take place at the 25th Meeting of the German Society for Developmental Biology together with the Dutch Society for Developmental Biology (DSBD) in Osnabrück. In addition to the Hilde Mangold Science Prize, other honours taking place will include the best dissertation and honouring the life's work of the renowned Max Planck scientist and Nobel Prize winner Christiane Nüsslein-Vollhard with the Klaus Sander Prize.



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