Lars Zender to receive Leibniz-Prize

Former HZI scientist will be awarded with the most renowned German research prize


Prof. Lars Zender leitete bis 2012 die Nachwuchsforschungsgruppe "Chronic Infections and Cancer" am HZI

© HZIProf Lars Zender was head of the junior research group "Infections and Cancer" at the HZI until 2012

On 5 December it was announced that the former HZI junior research group leader Prof Lars Zender will receive the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize 2014. The prize is awarded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) since 1986 and is the most renowned research award in Germany. Zender is being honoured for his work on the development of new methods for treating tumour diseases in the gastro-intestinal system and the liver. He started this research during his time in Braunschweig and at the Hannover Medical School (MHH).

At 38 years of age Zender is the youngest of this year’s laureates, but has already contributed majorly to cancer research. “The significance of his research is reflected in the German Cancer Award which he received earlier this year,” said Prof Michael P. Manns, the Director of the Department of Gastroenterology Hepatology and Endocrinology at the MHH. 

Among other things, he found mechanisms which contribute to the conservation or to the recovery of the liver after a tumour disease. Furthermore, he is working on the identification of cancer genes which are involved in the development of tumours inside the gastro-intestinal system. Knowing these will help scientists to create new and more efficient tumour therapies in the future. 

“We are delighted that one of our former junior research group leaders will be awarded with such an important prize and would like to sincerely congratulate him on this success,” said Prof Dirk Heinz, Scientific Director at the HZI. And he was not the only one to praise his achievement. Prof Jürgen Mlynek, President of the Helmholtz Association, said: “I am especially pleased for Lars Zender, as we have paved the way for his success through one of our junior research groups.”

Since 2012 Zender is professor at the University Hospital Tübingen and head of the section for translational gastrointestinal Oncology. Before this he was head of the junior research group “Chronic Infections and Cancer” at the HZI and junior professor at the MHH, where he graduated. 

Besides Zender ten other scientists will be awarded with the prize endowed with 2.5 million Euros. In which part of their research the scientists invest the money is entirely up to them.