David Tilman, Community Ecology & Biodiversity Section Head in the Ecology Faculty, has taken the BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award in Ecology and Conservation Biology for scientifically demonstrating how biodiversity makes ecosystems more stable, productive and resilient.
Tilman, Regents professor at the University of Minnesota who also won a Balzan prize last year, published a landmark paper in Nature in 1994 that changed the prevailing opinion that ecosystems did not need to be diverse to be stable. Tilman provided evidence that, in fact, less diverse systems are indeed less stable. Indeed, a severe decline in biodiversity may lead to long-term problems in the quality and functioning of ecosystems.
In their press release, the BBVA singled out his efforts to unravel one of the oldest mysteries in ecological science: how can so many species coexist within a single ecosystem? They highlight that Tilman built “into his theoretical models the idea that each species specializes in what it does best at the expense of other possible uses of its energy, and concluded that it is this trade-off (between, for instance, greater competitive vs. dispersal ability) that permits the coexistence of multiple species.”
Check out Tilman’s interview for the BBVA in which he explains in more detail why biological diversity is so important to ecosystems and ecosystems stability.
Many congratulations, David!
We are pleased to be able to say that Immunology Head of Faculty Philippa Marrack has jointly won the 2015 Wolf Prize in Medicine – a prestigious prize that recognises scientists at the top of their field. Marrack, from the National Jewish Medical and Research Center (NJMRC) in Denver, Colorado, shares the prize with two others – fellow NJMRC lab head John Kappler and Jeffrey Ravetch from the Rockefeller University. They win a $100,000 award, which they will split between them – 50% to Marrack and Kappler’s lab, and 50% to Ravetch.
According to the Wolf Foundation, the three researchers received the prize for their contribution “to the understanding of the molecular basis of the immune response in health and disease.” Marrack and Kappler’s research has helped unravel the functioning of our immune systems. In particular, they succeeded in identifying the previously elusive T-cell receptor with “an ingenious use of monoclonal T cells and monoclonal antibodies.”
Read more about Marrack and Kappler’s joint and individual achievements in the National Jewish Health Center’s press release.
Many congratulations from F1000 on winning this award, Philippa!
Founded in 2013, the Breakthrough Prize Foundation is a non-profit organisation dedicated to advancing and celebrating breakthrough research. This year, the foundation gave away a whopping US$36million in prize money for research into the life sciences, physics and mathematics. We’re pleased to say that one of the winners of the 2015 Life Science Prize was Jennifer Doudna, one of F1000’s Structural Biology Section Heads.
Doudna, from University of California, Berkeley, and Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator, shares her prize with research colleague Emmanuelle Charpentier. They were recognised for their discovery in 2012 of CRISPR technology (clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats), a genome editing technique that harnesses an ancient mechanism of bacterial immunity to create a powerful technology for the life sciences. Since their ground-breaking research on genome editing, the CRISPR/Cas9 system is now widely used by research groups worldwide for disease diagnosis, treatment, medical therapeutics and more.
Doudna won a 2014 Lurie Prize in Biomedical Sciences last year, an award designed to honour outstanding achievement by a promising scientist aged 52 or younger.
Many congratulations to Doudna and Charpentier on their remarkable achievement!
The fungal pathogen Candida albicans is one of the most persistent yeast pathogens known to man. Most people associate it only with thrush, but, as Michelle Leach explains in the video below, it is actually the fourth most common hospital-acquired bloodstream infection and has a mortality rate of 40-70%.
Michelle is a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Toronto and an F1000 Associate Faculty Member in the Microbiology Faculty. We recorded this video when she visited the F1000 offices last week. Michelle describes her research on the thermotolerance of pathogenic infections, and in particular, how C. albicans senses that the body’s temperature is raised and how it then uses that temperature fluctuation to become more pathogenic and establish systemic infection within the host.
This type of research is particularly important because it has been predicted that global warming could increase the virulence and diversity of fungal diseases.
Are you based in Oxford, UK? We’re having a meet-up there on February 10 – everyone is welcome!
F1000 meet-ups are a chance for researchers to meet others working in the same city, and to talk to F1000 and F1000Research staff, or meet their local F1000 Specialists. At this Oxford meet-up, you’ll also get to hear about some exciting upcoming changes at F1000.
If you’d like to join us in the Kings Arms that evening, please register on eventbrite so that we have an idea how many people (and who) to expect. It’s entirely free, and food and drink are on us!
We hope to meet you – and your friends and lab mates – that evening, from 6:30 PM onwards.
Make sure that you also register any people you bring along, as well as yourself.
For more about F1000 meet-ups, see these reports from a few of our previous events in Cambridge and Heidelberg. If you would like to arrange an F1000 meet-up in your city, please email the outreach team at firstname.lastname@example.org
Crabb is the Director and CEO of the Burnet institute, and past president of the Association of Australian Medical Research Institutes (AAMRI). He is widely recognised for his contributions to malaria research, especially in vaccine development and new therapies. Crabb joined F1000 in 2011, jointly heading up the Parasitology Section. He has described receiving the award as “an unexpected delight and tremendous honour“.