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There’s only one satisfactory solution when a selection committee is challenged to decide between two equally excellent candidates: two winners! And so, on Friday 16th December, the EMBL Alumni Association board selected Gáspár Jékely, former postdoc from the Rorth and then Arendt Group, and Simone Weyand, former EMBL Hamburg predoc from the Weiss Team, as the 2012 John Kendrew Award winners.
“I am very delighted and honored to have been selected for the Kendrew award. …. Although I don’t know Simone Weyand, it is a pleasure to be co-awarded with a structural biologist, a field also close to my heart,” Gáspár wrote to the board after hearing about the outcome.
“It’s a great honor to be selected for this award in particular because John Kendrew was one of the pioneers in crystallography”, wrote Simone in response to the news, and continued, “I’m eternally grateful to my current supervisor who taught me to fish instead of giving me a fish when I was hungry. Looking forward to Lab Day and to getting to know Gaspar.”
More good news followed as Roland Specker, the generous John Kendrew Award donor for the decade 2011-2020 agreed to provide the additional funds required for two winners.
Gáspar, now Group Leader at the Tuebingen Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology, was selected for his outstanding contributions as one of the pioneers in the eco-evo-devo field. He uses a multidisciplinary approach to address complex questions at the interface of behaviour, neurobiology, biophysics, marine biology and evolution, which could have important ecological relevance. He is also a keen science communicator, having written a book and numerous popular articles about evolutionary questions.
Simone, Research Associate at the Imperial College London and Diamond Light Source, was selected for her impressive achievements within structure determination of secondary transporters as well as her key contributions to the G-protein-coupled-receptor field. She has been highly involved in science communication at high schools and in social engagements for young terminally ill children in the UK. In addition to her significant research activities, she is also a visiting professor in Casablanca.
Both will present their work and receive their award at EMBL Lab Day on Thursday 5th July.