< Felix Tritschler erhält die Otto-Hahn-Medaille

Felix Tritschler receives Otto Hahn Medal

Former PhD student of the Department of Biochemistry at the Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology wins award for his thesis

Felix Tritschler. Photo: privateTübingen, 2nd May 2012. Felix Tritschler, a former PhD student at the Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology in Tübingen, will receive the Otto Hahn Medal of the Max Planck Society in recognition of his outstanding PhD thesis. He investigated basic mechanisms underlying the regulation of messenger RNA degradation. The medal, along with a cash prize of 7500 Euros, will be conferred at the Annual General Meeting of the Max Planck Society in Düsseldorf on June 13, 2012.


Since 1978, the Max Planck Society has honored several young scientists each year with the Otto Hahn Medal. It is intended to motivate especially gifted junior scientists and researchers to pursue a future university or research career.


From 2006 to 2010, Felix Tritschler carried out his PhD research project in the Department of Biochemistry at the Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology in Tübingen under the supervision of Director Elisa Izaurralde. Subsequently, he joined the group of Professor Nenad Ban at the Institute of Molecular Biology and Biophysics at the ETH Zurich, as a postdoctoral fellow. Felix Tritschler’s substantial contribution to the field of regulation of RNA degradation has already gained him the recognition of the German Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (GBM), which awarded him its PhD Prize in 2011. The Prize is granted for an outstanding thesis in the field of Biochemistry or Molecular Biology.


In his PhD research project, Felix Tritschler studied the mechanism underlying one specific aspect of the regulation of gene expression using the cells of the fruit fly Drosophila as a model system. In eukaryotic cells, the genetic information stored in the DNA is first transferred to messenger RNA. This leaves the nucleus and enters the cytoplasm, before it can serve as a template for the production of proteins. The cap structure at one end serves as a signal for regulatory processes controlling the stability of the messenger RNA molecule. One of the main mechanisms influencing the timing and quantity of protein production is the degradation of messenger RNA. This process is often initiated by removal of the cap structure by a decapping complex.


Felix Tritschler analyzed several of the components of the decapping complex in detail and determined their interactions. He solved the structure of several domains of the proteins EDC3, Tral, Me31B, DCP1 and Pat, which are present in the decapping complex. In combination with functional studies, these structures provided the foundation for a model explaining the functional diversity of decapping complexes. Through his research, Felix Tritschler has contributed to our understanding of basic regulatory processes present in all cells of eukaryotic organisms. 

Felix Tritschler. Photo: private

Felix Tritschler. Photo: private