Martin Beck Awarded Feldberg Prize 2024
With the prestigious award, the Feldberg Foundation promotes the scientific exchange between Germany and Great Britain
Martin Beck, Director of the Department of Molecular Sociology at the Max Planck Institute of Biophysics, received the Feldberg Prize 2024 for Anglo-German scientific exchange in the field of experimental medical research. The Feldberg Foundation awards the prize each year to two excellent researchers, one from Germany and one from the United Kingdom (UK).
Text: Katharina Kaefer
“I am humbled to receive this price by the Feldberg foundation that has previously recognized so many outstanding scientists,” said Martin Beck. “I am looking forward to visit the UK this year!”
As a Feldberg Prize awardee, Beck will not only give his award lecture but at least two more lectures at scientific institutions in the UK within the next two years. The goal of the Feldberg Foundation is to strengthen Anglo-German scientific exchange in the field of experimental medical research, particularly physiology, pharmacology and related disciplines. It was founded in 1961 after the Second World War by the pharmacologist Wilhelm Feldberg, who was a researcher at the Friedrich Wilhelm University in Berlin until 1933. Being a Jewish scientist, he was forced to leave Germany at that time and therefore emigrated to England to continue his studies. To establish the foundation, he used his restitution money and his pension from the German Government.
About Martin Beck’s Research
Martin Beck studies very large macromolecular complexes in cells. To investigate their structure, dynamics, and function in their native environment, he uses cryo-electron tomography, biochemical methods, live cell imaging, and computational modeling in a holistic approach. In the recent years, he has provided important insights into the structure and function of nuclear pore complexes. These complexes, consisting of about 1000 proteins, form channels in the nuclear membrane that regulate the exchange of substances and information between the nucleus and the cytosol. In this way, nuclear pore complexes ensure the protection and preservation of the genetic material stored in the nucleus. Martin Beck and his coworkers solved the structure of the human nuclear pore scaffold to near completion, explained how the pores constrict and dilate to control material transport, and found a biogenesis pathway which explains how the complexes are inherited from mother to embryo.
Martin Beck’s Scientific Career
Martin Beck studied biochemistry and completed his doctorate in the group of Wolfgang Baumeister at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry in Martinsried, Germany. As a postdoctoral researcher, he went to the ETH (Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule) Zurich in Switzerland before becoming a group leader at EMBL (European Molecular Biology Laboratory) in Heidelberg in 2010. Since 2019, he has been a Director at the Max Planck Institute of Biophysics in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. In 2021, he was elected an EMBO (European Molecular Biology Organization) member. After receiving an ERC Starting Grant and an ERC Consolidator Grant in his early career, he received his third ERC grant as senior research group leader last year. Martin Beck now joins a list of highly successful researchers who have received the prestigious Feldberg Prize since the foundation was established - including several Nobel laureates andl Max Planck Directors, amongst others Patrick Cramer, new president of the Max Planck Society as of June this year.
Feldberg Foundation: https://feldbergfoundation.org/