The 14th Landsteiner Lecture was held virtually on 10 May 2021 by Sarah Teichmann, Head of Cellular Genetics at the Wellcome Sanger Institute (UK), with a special focus on the Global Human Cell Atlas Consortium, which she co-founded in 2016.
The CeMM Landsteiner Lecture series is named in honor of Karl Landsteiner, the Viennese scientist who was awarded the Nobel Prize for discovering blood groups. The invited speakers, carefully selected by CeMM Faculty, are prominent scientists whose molecular research is deemed to have had a significant impact on medicine. From 2007 to 2018, the lecture was held in the stunning 18th century frescoed festive hall of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, where once Haydn and Beethoven conducted premieres of their work.
The event opened with a beautiful musical prelude performed by Austrian musicians Anna Lang and Doris Freimüller, as a tribute to the 250th anniversary of Ludwig van Beethoven's birth, followed by the welcome address by CeMM Scientific Director Giulio Superti-Furga. Then the Denise P. Barlow Award Ceremony took place, a yearly academic talent prize in memory of former CeMM Principal Investigator Denise Barlow, and launched by the four Viennese institutions she was connected to: IMP, Max Perutz Labs, IMBA and CeMM. The prize intends to promote the academic career of young scientists and awards the best PhD thesis on topics that cover basic cell biological, biochemical, molecular biological, structural and computational work, with an emphasis on new biological mechanisms. The 2020 awardee was Anete Romanauska for her thesis entitled “Lipid metabolism at the inner nuclear membrane”, which she conducted under the supervision of Prof. Alwin Köhler from the Max Perutz Labs in Vienna. The awardees in 2019, Julia Batki and Matthias Muhar, who are currently pursuing their postdoctoral career, also joined the event.
After another musical interlude, the invited keynote speaker Sarah Teichmann introduced the Human Cell Atlas (HCA), a project which was born thanks to a collaborative community of world-leading scientists who came together to discuss how to build a high-resolution and comprehensive collection of maps that would serve as a basis for both understanding human health and diagnosing, monitoring, and treating disease. Cells are the most fundamental unit of life, yet they vary enormously within the body, and express different sets of genes. Surprisingly there is little knowledge about them and without comprehensive maps of the different types and locations within the body, it is not possible to describe all their functions and gain a better understanding of the biological networks that direct their activities.
We would like to warmly thank Sarah Teichmann for delivering such an insightful virtual 14th CeMM Landsteiner Lecture! We also congratulate Anete Romanauska for her award and thank the 300 participants who joined us virtually from all over the world!
If you could not join the event, watch the full recording here.