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Frauke Melchior receives the 2018 FEBS | EMBO Women in Science Award


Heidelberg, Feb. 20, 2018 - EMBO and the Federation of European Biochemical Societies (FEBS) announce Frauke Melchior from the Center for Molecular Biology (ZMBH) at Heidelberg University, Germany, as the recipient of the 2018 FEBS | EMBO Women in Science Award.

The FEBS | EMBO Women in Science Award recognizes outstanding achievements of female researchers in the life sciences. In addition, winners of the award are role models who inspire future generations of scientists.

Melchior receives the award for discovering a link between the small ubiquitin-like modifier (SUMO), oxidative stress and DNA damage, which has important implications for the development of chemotherapeutic approaches in cancer treatment. In addition, the award also recognizes Melchior's generosity in guiding and mentoring young researchers and sharing protocols and reagents with the scientific community.

Frauke Melchior says about receiving the award: "It is a wonderful honour and great motivation to receive this award. I particularly value the combined recognition for my scientific discoveries and my work in mentoring and supporting younger scientists. At this stage of my career it tells me that I have been doing something right in trying to combine these different aspects into my work as a scientist."

Since discovering SUMO 20 years ago, Melchior has been instrumental in shaping and leading research on post-translational modification of proteins with SUMO.

Anne Dejean of the Institut Pasteur in Paris, France, a research colleague in the SUMO field, says: "Frauke Melchior is an exceptional scientist. She discovered SUMOylation and promoted the SUMO field through key findings, seminal reviews, methods development, dissemination of protocols and reagents, as well as teaching and mentoring the next generation of scientists."

"She is internationally highly recognized for her thorough analysis and innovative studies in the SUMO field as well as for her generous way of sharing scientific knowledge, ideas, protocols and tools," adds Ivan Dikic, Director of the Institute of Biochemistry II at the Goethe University Frankfurt, Germany, who has worked with Melchior on several occasions.

During her career, Frauke Melchior has supervised more than 40 postgraduate students and postdoctoral researchers in her lab. She has also worked with 10 mentees through schemes like the EMBO Young Investigator Programme, the Mentoring Program for International Female Scholars of the University of Cologne and the junior group leader program of the Cluster CellNetworks in Heidelberg.

The 2018 FEBS | EMBO Women in Science Award of 10,000 euros and a bronze statuette will be presented to Frauke Melchior on 9 July 2018 at this year's FEBS Congress in Prague, Czech Republic, where she will present a plenary lecture.




Frauke Melchior earned her PhD in chemistry from the University of Marburg, Germany. Following postdoctoral work at the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in Goettingen, Germany, Melchior moved to the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, USA, for a second postdoctoral fellowship. It was there that she discovered the protein SUMO (small ubiquitin-like modifier), which has informed her research ever since. On her return to Germany, Melchior spent six years as research group leader at the Max Planck Institute for Biochemistry in Martinsried, and then became Professor of Biochemistry in Goettingen in 2004. In 2008 she accepted a professorship for Molecular Biology at the Center for Molecular Biology (ZMBH) at Heidelberg University. In 2005 she received the Binder Award of the German Society for Cell Biology. She was elected an EMBO Member in 2007 and a member of the German National Academy of Sciences, Leopoldina, in 2014.

Melchior's current research continues to look at post-translational modification of proteins with small ubiquitin-related proteins of the SUMO family. Specifically, her lab investigates the enzymatic machinery and basic principles required for SUMOylation, the links between SUMO and transport of proteins into and out of the nucleus, connections with other ubiquitin-conjugating pathways, and the regulation of SUMOylation through redox signalling.

About the FEBS | EMBO Women in Science Award

The Women in Science Award is a joint initiative of FEBS and EMBO. It recognizes and highlights major contributions by female scientists working in Europe to life sciences research in the past five years. The award includes a prize of 10,000 euros, a bronze statuette and the opportunity to give a plenary lecture at the FEBS Congress.

Nominations for the 2019 FEBS | EMBO Women in Science Award close on 1 October 2018.

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About FEBS

The Federation of European Biochemical Societies (FEBS) is one of Europe's largest organizations in the molecular life sciences, with over 35,000 members across more than 35 biochemistry and molecular biology societies (its 'Constituent Societies') in different countries of Europe and neighbouring regions. As a grass-roots organization FEBS thereby provides a voice to a large part of the academic research and teaching community in Europe and beyond.

As a charity, FEBS promotes and supports biochemistry, molecular biology, cell biology, molecular biophysics and related research areas through its journals, Congress, Advanced Courses, Fellowships and other initiatives. There is an emphasis in many programmes on scientific exchange and cooperation between scientists working in different countries, and on promotion of the training of early-career scientists. For more information:


About EMBO

EMBO is an organization of more than 1700 leading researchers that promotes excellence in the life sciences. The major goals of the organization are to support talented researchers at all stages of their careers, stimulate the exchange of scientific information, and help build a European research environment where scientists can achieve their best work.

EMBO helps young scientists to advance their research, promote their international reputations and ensure their mobility. Courses, workshops, conferences and scientific journals disseminate the latest research and offer training in techniques to maintain high standards of excellence in research practice. EMBO helps to shape science and research policy by seeking input and feedback from our community and by following closely the trends in science in Europe. For more information:

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