Julian Stingele is working on basic biomedical research, "the most exciting and dynamic field of research at all," he says. Specifically, he is researching mechanisms that play a role in the repair of DNA. The DNA is exposed to high levels of stress that can damage it and cause maladies such as cancer or premature aging. But it's not just external influences that cause damage to the DNA. Even substances produced by the body itself, such as formaldehyde, which occurs in mammalian cells during normal metabolism as an intermediate, damage the DNA. As a result, proteins can stick to it - resulting in so-called cross-links, which prevent the replication of DNA.
Julian Stingele has discovered that a particular enzyme plays a crucial role in the resolution of these crosslinks. The enzyme, which occurs in yeast as well as mammalian cells, cleaves the proteins and allows replication. Cells lacking the enzyme die off. A resulting mutation can lead to life-threatening illnesses. Stingele will continue to explore why the enzyme is so essential and demonstrates the molecular pathway. This will increase the understanding of where DNA damage occurs. In a further step, he wants to find out how cancer can develop on this basis to find approaches for the development of drugs.
Born in Stuttgart, he studied biology at the University of Konstanz and received his doctorate at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry in Planegg-Martinsried. Prior to his call to LMU last autumn, he spent almost three years at the London Francis Crick Institute.
The Alfried Krupp Prize, which has been awarded by the Alfried Krupp von Bohlen and Halbach Foundation in Essen since 1986, is endowed with one million euros and enables the winner to advance his research independently of public funds over the next five years. The selection committees of the Alfried Krupp von Bohlen and Halbach Foundation had submitted a total of 41 candidate proposals from universities and research institutions from all over Germany. Ursula Gather, curator of the Krupp Foundation, emphasized that Stingele is a young researcher to whom great potential is attributed and whose research approaches have opened up extensive possibilities for the development of novel therapeutic approaches in medicine. The award will be presented in November as part of a festive event at Villa Hügel in Essen.