Award for Outstanding Heidelberg Master’s Student

Bioscientist Eleni Zimmer receives the Marie-Luise Jung Prize, awarded for the second time

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Eleni Zimmer is to be honoured as an outstanding master’s graduate of Heidelberg University: in recognition of her scientific potential regarding her doctoral phase, which has now begun, and a subsequent career in academic research, she has been selected to receive the Marie-Luise Jung Prize. The prize, initiated jointly by the university with the Constituted Student Body and the Doctoral Convention, is awarded by the Faculty of Biosciences; it commemorates the biology student killed during a shooting two years ago, whose express wish was to embark on such an academic career at Heidelberg University. Prize-winner Eleni Zimmer studied Molecular Biosciences at Heidelberg with a focus on cancer biology and has recently started working on her doctoral thesis at Ulm University’s International Graduate School in Molecular Medicine. The academic ceremony to award the prize is to take place in the Great Hall of the Old University on 19 April 2024.

"Eleni Zimmer is an extraordinarily gifted and committed student, who has shown outstanding achievements both in coursework and in experimental research," underlines Ilse Hofmann from the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), who is spokesperson of the cancer biology major in the master’s course on Molecular Biosciences. Besides her excellent results, says Prof. Hofmann, the quality and significance of Eleni Zimmer’s master’s thesis is remarkable. For her thesis on genetic aspects related to lung carcinoma, the prize-winner worked in the DKFZ’s Division of Molecular thoracic Oncology. The bioscientist co-authored two publications in the journals "Genome Biology" and "Cancer Research". At the graduate school in Ulm she is working for her doctoral thesis on patient-derived organoids as a model for precision oncology in pancreatic cancer.

The prize-winner studied Molecular Medicine at Ulm University. After earning her bachelor’s degree in August 2021 Eleni Zimmer transferred to Heidelberg University to take the English-language master’s programme in Molecular Biosciences, focusing on cancer biology, which she successfully completed at the end of last year. During her master’s she spent six months doing research at the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm (Sweden). Furthermore, she received a fellowship from the Helmholtz International Graduate School for Cancer Research, the graduate school of the German Cancer Research Center.

Frauke Melchior, Rector of Heidelberg University, will open the academic ceremony to award the Marie-Luise Jung Prize. Greetings will follow from Fritz Beck, chair of the Constituted Student Body, and Oliver Gilliam on behalf of the Doctoral Convention. Christoph Schuster, Dean of Studies at the Faculty of Biosciences will give the tribute to the awardee who, after Prof. Melchior has presented her with the prize, will report on her scientific work. The award ceremony will be framed musically by Caroline Werkle, playing the cello, and Jason Wright at the piano.

In 2022, the Rectorate and the governing bodies of the Constituted Student Body and the Doctoral Convention decided, in consultation with the Faculty of Biosciences and the victim’s family, that a prize would be initiated in memory of the 23-year-old student who lost her life, and financed over a period of 20 years. The Marie-Luise Jung Prize comes with 1,500 euros in prize money. In this context, it was also decided that a community day would be organised once a year for first-year students of biosciences, to conclude with the academic awarding of the prize.

Note for newsrooms:
The academic ceremony to award the Marie-Luise Jung Prize is to take place on 19 April 2024 in the Great Hall of the Old University, starting at 5 pm. Representatives of the media are asked to register by 17 April with presse@rektorat.uni-heidelberg.de. Taking photos and filming is only possible by arrangement with the Press Office.