BINDER Innovation Prize awarded to Sara Wickström

Sara Wickström received BINDER prize

Sara Wickström, research group leader at the Max Planck Institute for Biology of Ageing was awarded with the BINDER Innovation Prize 2017.  Every year, the German Society for Cell Biology (DGZ) together with BINDER, a manufacturer for laboratory equipment, honors outstanding research projects in the field of cell biology. Sara Wickström receives her award for her new discoveries in stem cell biology. The award was presented to her on March 1, 2017, during this year's international congress of the DGZ in Leipzig.

Our skin protects us every day from infections and dehydration. To do  this, it must constantly renew itself and produce new skin cells. The necessary supply of new skin cells is provided by its stem cells. As humans age, this highly regulated system can get out of control, which can cause skin tumors. These are the most common cause of cancer in Europe.

With her research, Sara Wickström is aiming to understand how stem cells are regulated and how they contribute to the development of skin cancer and ageing. In long term she hopes to advance the development of drugs in the area of skin cancer therapy.

For this purpose, her laboratory recently developed a new method to cultivate skin hair follicle stem cells of mice in a petri dish. Embedded in a gel of natural skin proteins, hair follicle stem cells can be kept alive for a long time. In addition, already mature skin cells can be reprogrammed to stem cells in this system.

About Sara Wickström

Sara Wickström studied and graduated at the University of Helsinki in Finland. Then she joined the Max Planck Institute for Biochemistry in Munich. In 2010, she started her Paul Gerson Unna Research Group at the Max Planck Institute for Biology of Ageing. Her research is supported by the Max Planck Foundation.

About the prize

Since 1998, the BINDER Innovation Prize has been awarded annually by the German Society for Cell Biology for outstanding work in the field of basic cell biology research. The award winner is selected by an independent expert jury of the DGZ. The prize money of 4000 Euro is donated by the laboratory device manufacturer BINDER.