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14.04.2016

ERC Advanced Grant for Nobel Prize Winner

Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard from the Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology in Tübingen, Germany, receives prestigious award


Tübingen, 14th of April 2016.Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard receives one of the coveted Advanced Grants of the European Research Council (ERC). The grant provides €2.2m over a period of 5 years. The Nobel Prize winner works on the molecular and genetic background of colour pattern formation in animals and is leader of an Emeritus-research group at the Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology in Tübingen, Germany.

Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard was awarded with the Nobel Prize for physiology or medicine in 1995 for her research on the embryonic development in the fruit fly. In the award program “Danio pattern” she investigates colour pattern formation in Zebrafish (Danio rerio) and its diversification in closely related species. “Colour patterns play a crucial role in evolution, since they have important functions in the social interactions of animals such as mate choice, kin recognition, or camouflage. Still, the underlying mechanisms are poorly understood”, explains Nüsslein-Volhard.

Zebrafish display a striking pattern of longitudinal blue and golden stripes. A large number of genetic variants and established in vivo imaging methods make the zebrafish an attractive model to study pattern formation. The pattern of Zebrafish is caused by the interactions of three pigment cell types, yellow, silver and black, arranged in superimposed layers in the skin. Other Danio species display quite different patterns. “If we find the genes underlying the variation of the colour patterns in Danio species, it means a big step forward towards understanding the evolution of bio-diversity”, states Nüsslein-Volhard.

Every year, the ERC awards Advanced Grants to outstanding established leading investigators of all disciplines. 277 senior researchers out of over 1900 applicants have been awarded with the prestigious Advanced Grant this year. .With this long-term funding, the ERC supports projects that have the potential for a scientific breakthrough in their research area thanks to ambitious ideas, unconventional methods, and a pioneering spirit.

About Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard
Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard has been a director at the Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology in Tübingen, Germany, 1985-2015. Presently, as Director emeritus, she is leading the research group “colour pattern formation”. For her discoveries of genes regulating the development of animals and humans, as well as of gradients responsible for pattern formation in the fly embryo, she received numerous awards, honorary doctorates and prizes, amongst others the Leibniz Prize of the German Research Foundation (DFG) (1986), the Albert Lasker Award (1991) and the Nobel Prize for physiology or medicine (1995). She is a member of the Royal Society, England, the National Academy, USA, the Académie Francaise and the order Pour le mérite (chancellor since 2013). She was a member of various committees, like the Senate of the Max Planck Society, the National Ethics Council (2002-2007) and the scientific council of the ERC (2007-2012).

More Information about the research group "colour pattern formation":
http://www.eb.tuebingen.mpg.de/de/forschung/emeriti/research-group-colour-pattern-formation.html

Press contact:Prof. Dr. Christiane Nüsslein-VolhardTel.: 07071 601- 489E-Mail: office-cnv@tuebingen.mpg.de 

Nadja Winter, Press officer (Public Relations)
Phone: +49 7071 601- 444
E-mail:presse-eb(at)tuebingen.mpg.de


Professor Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard, Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology. momentum-photo.com / Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology

Professor Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard, Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology. momentum-photo.com / Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology

Colour patterns of different Danio species. Closely related species of Danio fish display strikingly different colour patterns. Uwe Irion / Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology

Colour patterns of different Danio species. Closely related species of Danio fish display strikingly different colour patterns. Uwe Irion / Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology