ZONTA Science Award 2021 goes to Neva Caliskan

HIRI researcher was honored for her excellent scientific achievements and for her special commitment

Würzburg, October 15, 2021 – The 2021 Science Award from the ZONTA Club Würzburg was given to Neva Caliskan. The junior group leader at the Helmholtz Institute for RNA-based Infection Research (HIRI), who also holds a junior professorship at Julius Maximilians University (JMU), was honored for her excellent scientific achievements as well as for her special commitment. Awards also went to researchers Caroline Morbach (DZHI) and Agnieska Nowak-Król (JMU). The festive ceremony was held with the support of HIRI on October 13, 2021 at the Würzburg research and medical campus.

"In the course of her still young scientific career, Neva Caliskan has already gained groundbreaking insights for the fight against pathogens, and she has demonstrated her excellence in the field of molecular infection research," HIRI Director Jörg Vogel acknowledged the molecular biologist, who has been conducting research at HIRI since 2018.

By awarding the prize, the ZONTA Club Würzburg supports outstandingly qualified female researchers in scientific and technical disciplines. But there is more to it than that, as the association made clear: It is committed to gender equality in science and also wants to shed light on the commitment shown by women well beyond their actual research.

For equal opportunities and diversity

Caliskan's list of activities is also quite impressive: she is involved in research communication, initiates new lecture and slam events, and, as coordinator of the "RNA Spotlight Series," she is committed to making female scientists and their personal career paths even more visible.

"My team and I want to significantly improve knowledge about the 'Achilles heel' of viral pathogens," said Neva Caliskan, describing her passion for research. "But beyond that, I also passionately care about establishing equal opportunities and diversity in my environment. Being awarded the ZONTA Science Prize is a wonderful recognition of my efforts, and I'm very happy about it."

The Würzburg ZONTA Club has been announcing its science award in cooperation with the women's representatives of JMU since 1995. Along with Caliskan, the 2,000-euro prize this year also went to Caroline Morbach, Senior Clinician Scientist at the German Center for Heart Failure (DZHI). The 2020 prize was belatedly awarded to Agnieska Nowak-Król, Junior Professor at the Institute of Inorganic Chemistry and Junior Research Group Leader at the Institute of Nanosystems Chemistry at JMU.

Britta Grigull

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Dr Britta Grigull