Max Planck Research Award Winners 2004

Saturn-ähnliches Dekortationsbild


Kristina Güroff
Kerstin Schweichhart
Press, Communications
and Marketing
Tel.: +49 228 833-144/257
Fax: +49 228 833-441

Georg Scholl
Head of
Press, Communications and Marketing
Tel.: +49 228 833-258
Fax: +49 228 833-441

Eugene W. Myers and Martin Vingron


Genes and Computer Science - Software for analysing the genome   
The complete map of the human genome, which comprises three billion components, is a milestone of modern science. A very significant contribution to this work was made by Professor Dr. Eugene W. Myers, Professor of Computer Science at the University of California at Berkeley and one of the pioneers of computational molecular biology. As head of the bioinformatics department at the US company, Celera Genomics, he developed methods for stringing together the small segments (clones) of DNA that are generated during the sequencing process. It was Myers who first recognised that the problem of locating gene segments in the right order (assembly) could be solved by first selecting the clones according to their length. Using simulations, he was able to resolve the sequence overlaps for the entire human genome using only clones of defined length. This proved to be the key to the assembly of the complete genome.

The Gene Searcher   
Bioinformatics combines many different disciplines, such as molecular biology, statistics, computer science and genetics. Professor Dr. Martin Vingron, Professor of Computational Molecular Biology and Director at the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics in Berlin, is one of the leading experts in this field worldwide. His main research interests focus on gene expression - the transformation of genetic information into gene products - and the regulation of gene activity. Many diseases, or even disease stages, can be characterised by the specific pattern of activity ("gene expression profile") exhibited by the approximately 30,000 genes of the human organism. In the near future, physicians will have tools like DNA microarrays, or "gene chips," enabling them to scan their patients' DNA for tiny mutations of individual genomes. The results will permit the design of precisely focused therapies individually tailored to each patient. Martin Vingron's scientific work has provided an essential basis for this development.

Professor Dr. Eugene W. Myers

Professor Dr. Martin Vingron