The Marcel Benoist Swiss Science Prize goes to Rudolf Aebersold

21/Sep/2020

Rudolf Aebersold ist der Preisträger 2020

In this anniversary year, the Marcel Benoist Swiss Science Prize goes to Rudolf Aebersold for his pioneering work in the field of systems biology.

For the first time, the winners of the two prestigious Swiss science prizes, the Marcel Benoist Swiss Science Prize and the Latsis Prize, are being announced at the same time. In this anniversary year, the Marcel Benoist Swiss Science Prize, often referred to as the Swiss Nobel Prize, goes to Rudolf Aebersold (ETH Zurich/University of Zurich) for his pioneering work in the field of systems biology. The National Latsis Prize, awarded to young researchers under the age of 40, goes to Maryna Viazovska (EPF Lausanne) for her ground-breaking mathematical problem solving. The Swiss science prizes will be presented by Federal Councillor Guy Parmelin at an awards ceremony in Bern on 4 November.

The president of the Marcel Benoist Foundation, Federal Councillor Guy Parmelin, said: “We are delighted by the cooperation with the Fondation Latsis and the first joint awarding of the two prizes. In doing so, we are enhancing Switzerland’s standing as a location for scientific research.” The scientific selection process was conducted by the Swiss National Science Foundation on behalf of both foundations.

Co-founder of proteomics and pioneer of translational medicine

In its anniversary year, the Marcel Benoist Foundation is awarding its 100th prize to Rudolf Aebersold, professor of Systems Biology at the ETH Zurich and at the University of Zurich. The Prize is worth CHF 250,000. The foundation has recognised outstanding research of relevance to human life since 1920.

Rudolf Aebersold was one of the founding fathers of proteomics, which emerged in the mid-1990s. This area of research examines the entire set of proteins that are present in a cell. It investigates their properties and interactions in cell metabolism, and how cells react to changes in their environment, such as in the early detection of cancer with biomarkers on proteins.

In a human cell, hundreds of biochemical processes run simultaneously; these are carried out and controlled by tens of thousands of different types of proteins. Aebersold revolutionised how this is observed by using new mass spectrometry measurement methods.

His paradigm shift towards quantitative measurement and systemic observation has not only altered the understanding of organisms and biology. It also influences translational medicine and is an important cornerstone for the personalised medicine of the future. “It is a huge honour for me and my great team to be awarded the Marcel Benoist Swiss Science Prize. It also serves as recognition of the importance of international cooperation between researchers and of the open exchange of measurement data – both are fundamental to the success of proteomics,” said a delighted Aebersold.

The Swiss science prizes will be presented by the Marcel Benoist Foundation and the Fondation Latsis at an awards ceremony to be held in Bern Town Hall on 4 November.

Laureate 2020: Rudolf Aebersold

Rudolf Aebersold was born in Switzerland in 1954 and obtained a doctorate in cell biology from Basel University in 1983. His research and teaching career has taken him to the USA and Canada: as a post-doctoral student at California Institute of Technology, as an assistant professor at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, and as associate professor at the University of Washington in Seattle. He is the co-founder of the Institute for Systems Biology in Seattle in 2000, a world first. Aebersold holds dual professorships at the ETH Zurich and at the University of Zurich. He has been conducting research at the Institute for Biotechnology since 2004, and at the Institute for Molecular Systems Biology (IMSB) at the ETH Zurich since 2005. Aebersold is the holder of numerous prestigious awards, including the Human Proteome Organization Achievement Award (2005), the Otto Nägeli Prize (2010), the European Proteomics Association Pioneer Award (2012) and Paracelsus Prize of the Swiss Chemical Society (2018). He has been emeritus Professor at the IMSB since 2020. He will head the Tumour Profiling Project at the ETH Zurich until the end of 2023.

This is a press release from Foundations Marcel Benoist and Latsis Internationale.

Contacts

Marco Lügstenmann
Foundation Secretary
Tel.: +41 79 350 89 83
E-mail marco.luegstenmann@sbfi.admin.ch

Rudolf Aebersold
Laureate
ETH Zurich Communications
Tel.: +41 44 632 42 44
E-mail aebersold@imsb.biol.ethz.ch

Communications EAER
Tel.: +41 58 462 29 87
E-mail info@gs-wbf.admin.ch

For information regarding the selection process:

Swiss National Science Foundation
Jun Sarbach
SNSF media spokesperson
Tel.: +41 31 308 23 87
E-mail jun.sarbach@snf.ch