Blavatnik Award for Young Scientists in the UK for MPI-CBG Alumnus

Ewa Paluch receives largest unrestricted prize for young scientists

© Oliver Blackwell Photography

In March 2019, Ewa Paluch was the Laureate in the Life Sciences of the Blavatnik Award for Young Scientists in the UK. She is a professor for Cell Biophysics at the University College London (UCL) and is about to move to the University of Cambridge where she is taking up the Chair of Anatomy, which is one of the oldest chairs in the Life Sciences in Cambridge and was founded in 1707. From 2006 – 2013, Ewa was a research group leader at the MPI-CBG. Ewa received the award for her novel discoveries at the forefront of cell biology: she has elucidated key biophysical mechanisms of cell division and migration, and has established physiological roles of cellular protrusions known as “blebs.” Previously thought to exist only in sick or dying cells, she established that these protrusions on the cell surface are common in healthy cells, and that blebs have important functions in cell movement and division. 

The awards ceremony took place at the prestigious Victoria and Albert Museum in London. Joe Howard, former MPI-CBG Director, was present and introduced Ewa for her after dinner Award speech. Next to Ewa, eight other scientists received the award as well. The Blavatnik Awards for Young Scientists, launched in 2007 in the USA and 2017 in the UK, are the largest unrestricted cash prizes available exclusively to young scientists and engineers in the UK under the age of 42. One Laureate from each of the three categories of Life Sciences, Physical Sciences & Engineering, and Chemistry received an unrestricted prize of $100,000; additionally, two Finalists in every category received unrestricted prizes of $30,000 each. 

Unlike awards that honor scientists late in their careers, the Blavatnik Awards aim to identify and encourage promising young scientists early in their careers, when they are most in need of funding and recognition. The Blavatnik Awards in the UK sit alongside their global counterparts, the Blavatnik National Awards in the United States and the Blavatnik Awards in Israel, and all honor and support exceptional early-career scientists and engineers at lecturer level and above.