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Xience Award 2024: Walter Rosenthal honored as the first award winner

On March 1, the Leibniz Institute for Natural Product Research and Infection Biology - Hans Knöll Institute (Leibniz-HKI) presented the Xience Award for the first time in Jena. The award honors special scientific achievements and contributions to the development of the research institute. The first prize winner is the physician and pharmacologist Walter Rosenthal. With his outstanding scientific and research policy expertise, he significantly contributedto the success of the internationally renowned research center.

For more than three decades, internationally recognized cutting-edge research has been conducted at Leibniz-HKI in Jena. Personalities from the scientific community and politics, who are committing their expertise to the further development of the institute, are essential for this consistent success.

The Leibniz-HKI presents the Xience Award in recognition of outstanding scientific achievement and in gratitude for this substantial support. The name, a combination of excellence and science, refers not only to the commitment to science but also to the scientific merits of the recipients. The prize is awarded to renowned scientists who have helped shape the research profile of the institute and have continuously promoted its development into the leading research center for life-threatening fungal infections in Germany.

The first awardee is Prof. Dr. Walter Rosenthal, whose own success in research as well as his many years of support in the advancement of the Leibniz-HKI and the scientific location of Jena are thus honored.

Walther Rosenthal studied medicine in Gießen and London, obtained his doctorate in pharmacology in Gießen and habilitated in pharmacology and toxicology at the Freie Universität Berlin. In his research, he focused in particular on the biomedical basis for drug research and cell communication. He was one of the pioneers in researching G proteins, the key molecules in cellular signal transduction.

After heading the Leibniz Institute for Molecular Pharmacology and the Max Delbrück Center in Berlin, Rosenthal became President of the Friedrich Schiller University Jena in 2014, where he supported the establishment of the Cluster of Excellence "Balance of the Microverse" with great commitment. The "University Manager of the Year 2022" promoted the Leibniz-HKI not only politically, but also in scientific practice. He raised exciting research questions that the institute pursued. Since 2023, Rosenthal has been President of the German Rectors' Conference, which represents German universities to politicians and the public.

In his laudatory speech at the award ceremony, Institute Director Axel Brakhage emphasized: "Walter Rosenthal combines many facets of a successful scientist: through his pioneering work in an extremely difficult field of research, which is nevertheless enormously important for human health, he gained a great international reputation. Later, as an experienced professor and distinguished science manager, he strengthened the institutions he headed by creating networks and shaping entire locations. This is precisely what the Leibniz-HKI has benefited from over many years."

"I have been associated with the Leibniz-HKI for several decades and I am proud and happy to be here today," explains award winner Walter Rosenthal. "The institute is a flagship institute of the Leibniz Association. Few institutes work so closely with the university and thus contribute to breaking up rigid scientific structures. With its outstanding international scientific achievements, the rapid growth of the institute, the acquisition of numerous third-party funds and the good local networking, the Leibniz-HKI has shaped Jena's research landscape. For me, today is an emotional day and I am happy to be here, with view to the Jena mountains."

Text: by Charlotte Fuchs (presse@leibniz-hki.de | 03641 5321108)

Picture Credits: Anna Schroll / Leibniz-HKI

Picture Caption: Award winner Walther Rosenthal with his wife and the extended board of the Leibniz-HKI. (f.l.t.r. Pierre Stallforth, Elke Jäcksch, Walter Rosenthal, Elke Rosenthal, Axel Brakhage, Ilse Jacobsen).