Two prizes awarded for the first time by the Johann Wilhelm Ritter von Mannagetta Foundation go to the physicians Kaan Boztug and Elisabeth Salzer.
(f.l.t.r): Elisabeth Salzer, MD, Assoc.-Prof. Kaan Boztug, MD (Photo: LBI-RUD)
With Kaan Boztug, the director of the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Rare and Undiagnosed Diseases (LBI-RUD) and new scientific director of the Children's Cancer Research Institute (CCRI) receives the Johann Wilhelm Ritter von Mannagetta Prize, endowed with 15,000 euros, for "his outstanding achievements in the research of congenital disorders of the immune system", the Austrian Academy of Sciences announced.
He and his team have already made numerous groundbreaking contributions to the field of research - he identified and characterized genetically caused rare diseases resulting in bone marrow defects (G6PC3 and JAGN1 deficiency), chronic inflammatory bowel diseases (IL10R, IL20 and CD55 deficiency) or combined immunodeficiencies (PRKCD, NIK, DOCK2 and RASGRP1 deficiency). His work has been recognized with numerous international prizes and awards, including a FWF Science Fund START Prize, an ERC Starting Grant and most recently an ERC Consolidator Grant, and the Clemens von Pirquet Prize as the most recently cited scientist in paediatrics and adolescent medicine.
In addition to his leadership function for the LBI-RUD, Kaan Boztug has been working as research group leader of the CeMM Research Center for Molecular Medicine of the Austrian Academy of Sciences since 2011. As Associate Professor at the Department of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine of the Medical University of Vienna, he also heads the Jeffrey Model Expert Centre for Immunodeficiencies and the CeRUD Vienna Center for Rare and Undiagnosed Diseases. In March 2019, he also took over the responsibilities of the scientific director of St. Anna Children's Cancer Research.
Elisabeth Salzer receives one of two Johann Wilhelm Ritter von Mannagetta Medical Prizes 2018, endowed with 4,000 euros, for her work in researching RASGRP1 deficiency. She is the first author of a study that, for the first time, describes RASGRP1 as a key protein in the development of lymphocytes, the main actors of the human immune system. The protein's newly described functions, including the formation of the cytoskeleton - the backbone of every cell - have for the first time been able to describe a link between the absence of the protein and its importance for the immune system. The understanding of these molecular relationships forms the basis for research into potential targeted therapies for the novel immune deficiency.
Elisabeth Salzer completed her studies in human medicine at the Medical University of Vienna in 2010. From 2010 to 2015 she was a PhD student at the CeMM Research Center for Molecular Medicine of the Austrian Academy of Sciences in the research group of Kaan Boztug and received the Best MedDiss Award of Springer Verlag for her dissertation. Since 2015, she has completed her specialist training in paediatrics and adolescent medicine at the St. Anna Children's Hospital and is researching as a postdoctoral fellow at the LBI-RUD, also in Kaan Boztug's group. In 2017, she was awarded the science prize of the Austrian Society of Paediatrics and Adolescent Medicine.
The Johann Wilhelm Ritter von Mannagetta Prize for Medicine is awarded to scientists up to the age of 45 for outstanding work in medical research.
The two Johann Wilhelm Ritter von Mannagetta Prizes for Medicine are awarded to scientists up to four years after their doctorate for outstanding publications (original articles in a journal with peer review) in the field of medical research.