Otto Hahn Medal for Oskar Staufer

Award from the Max Planck Society for outstanding doctoral research

April 27, 2021

Oskar Staufer earned his PhD in the Department of Cellular Biophysics under the guidance of Prof Dr. Joachim Spatz. He receives this award for his work on the development of synthetic exosomes and the investigation of their fundamental molecular signaling mechanism in cellular networks and tissue models.

Award winner Oskar Staufer

A key characteristic of eukaryotic life forms are lipid-based compartments that play a central role in metabolic processes during biosynthesis and cellular communication – such as exosomes. These exosomes are not only of fundamental importance for intercellular signaling but also for diverse pathological conditions such as wound healing disorders. A fundamental understanding and mechanistic insight into exosome-based signaling pathways is currently impeded by their vastly complex molecular and structural organization. Synthetic exosomes enable for a quantitative and systematic assembly of exosomes and the analysis of their effects within organisms. In his PhD work, Oskar Staufer has developed technologies for the controlled production of synthetic exosomes. Based on this, he uncovered fundamental intercellular communication mechanisms. The therapeutic potential of this technology was impressive demonstrated by him in wound-healing procedures.

“Receiving the Otto Hahn Medal is a great honor for me. The award is not only an appreciation of my research so far, but also an incentive for my future in science. I will be able to use the medal and the associated prize money very well in my upcoming postdoc time. I am also especially grateful for the outstanding scientific environment at the institute and the encouragement and support that I received from all sides. Without the help of my colleagues, my research projects would certainly not have been nearly as successful.” Oskar Staufer currently continues to work on his research projects in the Cellular Biophysics Department as a postdoc.

The Otto Hahn Medal is normally awarded at the Max Planck Society's Annual General Meeting in June. It is currently still unclear whether the event this year will take place as planned.

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