When cells divide, telomerase plays a key role, an enzyme that preserves the telomeres, the ends of the chromosomes, which get shorter with every cell division. Controlling telomerase determines whether cells age or whether, in the case of cancer, for example, they grow uninhibitedly. The cell biologist, Peter Baumann, is a leading specialist in the field of chromosome biology, genome stability and the regulation of telomerase and other molecular cell-ageing processes. His discoveries on the RNA components of telomerase (Terc) in yeast could lead to a better understanding of Terc regulation in human cells and facilitate therapies to counter early cell-ageing or pathological growth. In Mainz, Baumann will help to develop the university and the Institute of Molecular Biology (IMB) into an international location for fundamental research in biomedicine.
Nominating University: Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz in combination with the Institute of Molecular Biology (IMB)
Prof. Dr. Peter Baumann
born in Germany in 1969, was a student at the University of Bayreuth and the University of Cambridge, United Kingdom, before taking his Ph.D. at the Imperial Cancer Research Fund (now known as Cancer Research UK) and University College London, United Kingdom. He began his academic career as a postdoc at the University of Colorado at Boulder, Colorado, USA, in 2000. Since 2002, he has held several academic positions at research institutions in Kansas City, Missouri, USA: he is a Professor at the University of Kansas Medical Center and an Investigator at both the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the Stowers Institute for Medical Research, where he also holds the Priscilla Wood Neaves Endowed Chair in the Biomedical Sciences. Baumann has received numerous awards and honours including the 2003 Pew Scholar in the Biomedical Sciences Award and the HHMI Early Career Scientist Award in 2009. He is a member of scientific bodies and publishes in the most eminent journals in his field. In October 2017 he took up his position as a Humboldt Professor at the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz.