Jeffrey V. Ravetch receives Robert Koch Award 2018, Staffan Normark honored with Robert Koch Gold Medal for his life’s work

November 16, 2018

Berlin – The Robert Koch Foundation today awarded the 2018 Robert Koch Award, which is worth 120,000 euros, to Professor Jeffrey V. Ravetch from the Rockefeller University in New York, USA. Staffan Normark, Professor at the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden, was awarded the Robert Koch Gold Medal for his life’s work.

The awards were presented by Susanne Wald, Director General at the Federal Ministry of Health, at the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities.

Ravetch received the Robert Koch Award for his groundbreaking work analyzing anti-body response. In his laudatory speech, Nobel laureate Professor Jules Hoffmann high-lighted Ravetch’s achievements: “Jeff Ravetch is considered as one of the central play-ers in modern immunology, both in the field of basic research and more recently in clinical immunology. The studies of Ravetch and his associates represent a paradigm shift in the way we view antibodies. In particular, the discovery of the functional diver-sification of antibodies based on the modulation of the Fc structure and its coupled effector pathways has opened new and multiple possibilities in therapy against auto-immune diseases and for cancer immunotherapy.”

Normark was honored for his life’s work, in particular for his work on the pathogenici-ty of pathogens. In his laudation, Professor Jörg Hacker, President of the German Na-tional Academy of Sciences Leopoldina, honored Normark: “He is known worldwide for his successful contributions in microbiology and infection research in particular. His investigations were mainly concentrated on the pathogenic properties of bacteria, espe-cially of those of Escherichia coli, Helicobacter pylori, Gonococci and Salmonella. He is a world leader in comprehension of the means by which pathogens dock onto cells and was the first to show that the ulcerogenic bacteria Helicobacter pylori is capable of docking onto epithelial stomach cells. His work had contributed to the development of new therapies and has led to the development of an experimental vaccine against uri-nary tract infections.”

Postdoctoral awards for young scientists

Also presented at the ceremony were the Robert Koch Foundation Post-doctoral Awards for outstanding work by young scientists, which each come with prize money of 5,000 euros. The candidates were nominated by the German Societies for Hygiene and Micro-biology, Immunology and Virology.

The post-doctoral award for virology was awarded to Dr. Maximilian Münchhoff, Max von Pettenkofer-Institute of the Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich, for his work on the analysis of HIV infections.

Dr. Lisa Beate Maier, European Molecular Biology Laboratory in Heidelberg, received the post-doctoral award for microbiology for her work on the role of the microbiota in bacterial intestinal infections.

This year’s award for immunology was jointly shared by Dr. Christian Mayer, Rockefel-ler University New York, for his research in the field of adaptive immunity and Dr. Christian Schwartz, Trinity College Dublin, for his research on the immune system against helminths.

Christine Howarth, Tel. +49 (0)30-468-11599, email: