Highlights of the 2020 Hall of Fame der deutschen Forschung

In an event held virtually for the first time, the hosts manager magazin and Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany honored the laureate of the Hall of Fame der deutschen Forschung 2020: the winner of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2020 Emmanuelle Charpentier, as well as the two awardees of the Curious-Mind-Forscherpreis, Siegfried Rasthofer (in the category “Digitalization & Robotics”) and Björn Eskofier (“Life Science”).

Insights into their research work and new challenges for Germany as a location for innovation were discussed in a global webstream.

These formats will supplement the classic elements of an award ceremony with well-founded content sharing, such as a panel discussion between the laureate and the laudator. 

The laureate 2020 - Emmanuelle Charpentier


Founding and Acting Director of the Max Planck Unit for the Science of Pathogens in Berlin. In addition, she is Honorary Professor at Humboldt University in Berlin.

Through her Work with bacteria, Charpentier laid the foundations for the development of the CRISPR/Cas method, which allows targeted genome editing to be carried out in all living cells. Genome editing holds promise in treating AIDS, cancer as well as genetic diseases and can also be used in plant and animal cultivation. Apart from gene regulation, Charpentier’s other research focus is on the molecular biology of infections.

Charpentier studied biochemistry, genetics and microbiology at the University Pierre and Marie Curie (now Sorbonne University) in Paris, where she obtained a PhD in microbiology. After holding further research positions in the United States and northern Europe, she transferred to the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research in Braunschweig, Germany. In 2015, Charpentier accepted the offer to become Director at the Max Plank Institute for Infection Biology in Berlin. Since then, she has been a scientific member of the Max Plank Society. Charpentier was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2020 for her work and has received the Leibniz Prize, the L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science Award and the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany, among other honors.

2020 Awardees

As the DFG-Heisenberg Professor and Head of the Machine Learning and Data Analytics Lab at the FAU in Erlangen-Nürnberg, Björn Eskofier is researching how algorithms and artificial intelligence can influence the health of people or the physical fitness of athletes, for instance.

After studying electrical engineering at the FAU, Eskofier earned a PhD in Biomechanics at the University of Calgary. His work already includes several collaborations with companies such as adidas as well as the development of a “pregnancy app”. Most recently, he received the Excellence for the Benefit of Society Award from Rotary International and the Bavarian Innovation Award.

Currently, Siegfried Rasthofer is working in the cyber insurance sector as a Cyber Claims Manager at Munich RE. His main research focus is on code analysis, mobile security and malware analysis. He has developed different tools for data security purposes.

Previously, Rasthofer worked in academia. After having studied IT Security at the TU Darmstadt, which he completed with a PhD, he was the head of the Secure Software Engineering department at the Fraunhofer Institute for Secure Information Technology in Darmstadt. He won the 2018 Software Engineering Award from the Ernst Denert Foundation and many other awards in the field of IT security.

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