Prof. Ueli Aebi is this year's winner of the "Carl Zeiss Lecture" award, the highest distinction for science from the German Society for Cell Biology (DGZ). During the 34th Annual Meeting of the DGZ, Prof. Aebi spoke about his main research focus, the structure and function of the nuclear pore complexes. This was followed by the festive awards ceremony, where Ueli Aebi was presented with the award, which has been granted annually for internationally outstanding achievements in biology, since 1990. In presenting this prize, the DGZ has honored Aebi's pioneer work in cell biology, as well as his outstanding contributions to the field of structural biology, which have significantly contributed to the understanding of the function of proteins and their supramolecular assemblies in the cell. Among the past Carl Zeiss Lecture award winners are Günther Blobel (New York), Tim Hunt (London) und Roger Tsien (La Jolla).
Distinguished Biological Scientist
Almost concurrently, Prof. Aebi received word from America that he has been chosen to receive the Distinguished Scientist award 2011 for biology from the Microscopy Society of America (MSA). This prize is awarded annually in both the disciplines of biology and physics to honor preeminent scientists for their long-standing record of achievement in their research in the field of microscopy or microanalysis. Aebi is one of the few in Europe, and after Jacques Dubochet (2009), the second Swiss, upon whom this honor has been bestowed. He will be presented with this award, in August, at the MSA Annual Meeting in Nashville, Tennesee.
Raiser of the Maurice E. Müller Institute for Structural Biology
Ueli Aebi received his Ph.D. degree in 1977 from the University of Basel. Following a post-doctoral visit to the University of California in Los Angeles he joined the faculty at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, in Baltimore, in 1979. In 1986, he became Professor for Structural Biology at the Biozentrum in Basel, where he established a world-class structural biology division, the Maurice E. Müller Institute for Structural Biology (MIS), which he also heads as Director. Aebi is a member of the Swiss Nanoscience Institute (SNI) and was until 2009 also part of the National Center of Competence in Research (NCCR), "Nanoscale Science", where he co-directed the project module "Nanobiology".In his research, he is dedicated to a structure-based understanding of molecular machines, and more generally, supramolecular assemblies within the cell - such as the nuclear pore complex or the cytoskeleton. Aebi's singular experimental approaches include light, electron and scanning probe microscopy combined with X-ray crystallography, molecular cell biology and protein design. Also, his group is working on novel optical and mechanical nano-sensors and -actuators for diagnostics, prevention and therapy by minimally invasive local interventions. Beside his academic career, Ueli Aebi has has almost 30 years of business experience: He is co-founder of several companies in the biomedical field.