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Mildred Dresselhaus Awards go to Prof. Roseanne Sension and Dr. Anouk Rijs

The Mildred Dresselhaus Awards are given each year by the Hamburg Centre for Ultrafast Imaging (CUI) to two internationally outstanding female scientists. This year’s awards will recognize Prof. Roseanne Sension from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, USA for the senior researcher award, and Dr. Anouk Rijs from the Radboud Universiteit in Nijmegen, the Netherlands for the junior, young star, award.  

The award includes a certificate plus a personal prize money of 20.000 and 10.000 Euro for the senior and promising young scientist awards, respectively. It will be awarded during the festive evening of CUI’s new year’s reception on January, 15th 2015. Furthermore, the award is combined with a guest professorship and therefore offers research and teaching stays at CUI. „We  provide excellent research conditions to a senior scientist and a promising younger scientist,  at the same time we are creating an opportunity to make new contacts here in Hamburg and thus lay the foundation for fruitful collaborations,” says Dr. Melanie Schnell, member of CUI’s board of directors. „In this way we can also bring international role models for female scientists to Hamburg.”

SensionKleinProf. Roseanne Sension will receive the award for her outstanding work in the field of ultrafast spectroscopy and coherent control. Her work especially in the photochemistry of cobalamin (vitamin B12) coenzymes is pioneering: Her accomplishments allow for optically triggering the dynamics of biomolecular systems. On this basis it is possible to study the dynamics of proteins in detail to uncover their functioning with regard to the biology of cells. At this point, Prof. Sension also analyzes how the cell environment influences proteins. The aim is to get a clear picture of how biomolecular systems work at the molecular level of detail.

During her stay within the context of the Mildred-Dresselhaus Guestprofessorship, Prof. Sension will join the group of Prof. R.J. Dwayne Miller and work on electron diffraction studies of cyclohexadiene and model systems for biologically active molecules to further elucidate the ultrafast dynamics of these important model systems.

RijsThe second awardee, Dr. Anouk Rijs, will be honoured for her successful work in physical chemistry, specializing on the investigation of biomolecular systems using infrared and terahertz radiation.

During her stay with CUI, her research will be focussed on protein dynamics, i.e., on proteins in action. One main question is how molecular recognition is established, meaning how local interactions of the active centre relate to the global protein activities. Such an analysis helps to understand the relation between structure and function. Thus Dr. Rijs’ expertise will be an excellent addition to the works of Prof. Arwen Pearson, Dr. Melanie Schnell, and Prof. Henry Chapman. Her stay will strengthen the research activities in Hamburg in the field of molecular recognition and time-resolved analysis of the dynamics of biomolecular systems.

The cluster of excellence CUI is a cooperation of scientists of Universität Hamburg, Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron (DESY), European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL), European XFEL GmbH and the Max Planck Institute of the Structure and Dynamics of Matter.