Kiel scientist receives 2017 Thannhauser Prize

Professor Andre Franke, professor at the Faculty of Medicine at Kiel University and member of the Cluster of Excellence “Inflammation at Interfaces”, is receiving the 2017 Thannhauser Prize. This prize, awarded by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Gastroenterologie, Verdauungs- und Stoffwechselkrankheiten (German Society for Digestive and Metabolic Diseases, DGVS), is endowed with €10,000. Franke is receiving the prize for his research into the influence of the human genome on the bacterial composition in the intestines.

In order to be able to better understand the complex interaction between and the influence the human intestinal flora has on how diseases originate, Franke and his colleagues from Kiel, Plön and Oslo, Norway, investigated the composition of intestinal bacteria in over 1,800 people from northern Germany, in the biggest study of its kind to date. They identified a number of factors like nutrition, lifestyle habits and genetic variations, which influence the composition of the intestinal microbiome. The Kiel-based research team then focused more closely on the influence of genetic differences. “We were very surprised to find that our genome had such a big influence on the bacteria in the intestines,” said Professor Franke, head of the study and director of the Institute of Clinical Molecular Biology in Kiel. Franke is now receiving the award for this work, which has been published in the renowned scientific journal Nature Genetics.

The Thannhauser Prize is awarded every two years for an outstanding and pioneering piece of scientific work in the field of digestive and metabolic diseases. The prize money amounts to €10,000. German scientists under the age of 40 are eligible to apply. The Falk Foundation e.V. in Freiburg donates this prize in memory of Siegfried Thannhauser, a famous German-American specialist for internal medicine. Thannhauser (1885-1962) specialized in metabolic diseases at an early stage. He provided fundamental information on the purine and cholesterol metabolisms, as well as on the formation of gout. Thannhauser was dismissed from his role as Professor for Internal Medicine at the University of Freiburg in April 1934 on account of his Jewish descent. He immigrated to the USA in 1935 and was able to continue his biochemical work at the Tufts University in Boston.

Prof. Dr Andre Franke
Institute of Clinical Molecular Biology at Kiel University
Tel.: +49 (0)431 500-15110

Photo/ Copyright: Tom Werner/DGVS
Award winner Prof. Andre Franke receives the Thannhauser Prize 2017 from Dr. Martin Strünkelnberg (left, Falk Foundation e.V.) and Prof. Frank Lammert, President of the DGVS.