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Sarah Kim-Hellmuth
Johannes Hellmuth

Sarah Kim-Hellmuth Receives Friedmund Neumann Prize 2022

Awards & Grants, Computational Health, ITG,

Dr. Sarah Kim-Hellmuth, Research Group Leader at the Helmholtz Munich Institute of Translational Genomics will be awarded the Friedmund Neumann Prize 2022 for her groundbreaking work in studying the genetic influence on human gene activity.

In her large-scale functional genetic analyses, the clinical geneticist studies the genetic make-up of hundreds of people simultaneously. She then links the observed genome variation with the gene activity in different body tissues and the potential risk for certain diseases. Her work has highlighted which exact sections of the genome influence the activity of disease-associated genes when, where and how. This knowledge can now help to develop improved and personalized therapies for the treatment and prevention of a wide variety of diseases including diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, autoimmune diseases or schizophrenia.

Sarah Kim-Hellmuth receives the prize in particular for her work as lead analyst in the Genotype-Tissue Expression (GTEx) consortium. She showed that the genetic regulation of gene activity is context-specific and can differ, for example, between different cell types, or between women and men. Unique to this study is the large number of different tissue types collected from hundreds of donors. This enormous dataset now enables the comparison of healthy and pathological gene activity in complex diseases. In the future, this knowledge will facilitate disease-specific research and improve drug target development.

Sarah Kim-Hellmuth was nominated for the Friedmund Neumann Prize 2022 by Prof. Dr. Eleftheria Zeggini, Director of the Institute of Translational Genomics at Helmholtz Munich. Prof. Dr. Dr. Christoph Klein, director of the Dr. von Hauner Children’s Hospital of the University of Munich (LMU), said about the prize recipient: “From a scientific and clinical perspective, Sarah Kim-Hellmuth and the GTEx consortium have contributed to a milestone that enables faster and improved discovery of disease mechanisms and paves the way toward personalized medicine.”

The Schering Stiftung has awarded the 10,000-euro prize since 2011 to recognize young scientists for their outstanding basic research in human biology, organic chemistry or human medicine.

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