On the 18th of February 2020, the National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina and the Leopoldina Academy Circle of Friendsreg. ass. invited the 2019 Mendel Medal Laureate to a lecture and joint spring reception. The theme of the evening was: “From the formation to the repair of the brain”.
The discovery that glial cells can also function as stem cells has initiated a paradigm shift in neuroscience. The recipient of the 2019 Mendel Medal of the Leopoldina, the Director of the Institute for Stem Cell Research at Helmholtz Zentrum München, Prof. Dr Magdalena Götz, Leopoldina member, spoke.
Magdalena Götz has been researching the molecular basis of brain development since her doctorate. She discovered that glial cells can also act as stem cells and give rise to neurons. She succeeded in identifying a common molecular mechanism. The transcription factor Pax6 allows both radial glial cells during development and adult neural stem cells of the brain to form neurons. Her findings are of central importance for applied stem cell research and the associated new therapeutic approaches for brain injuries and diseases. She has been awarded the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize, the Ernst Schering Prize and the National Decoration awarded for Services to the Community, among others.
Spring Event with Mendel Medal Laureate Magdalena Götz Photo: Markus Scholz