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J.C.W. Shepherd PhD Student Prize of the Biozentrum, University of Basel

The wife of John Charles Warren Shepherd, a former collaborator of Walter Gehring (see Shepherd JC et al. 1984 Nature, Shepherd JC et al. 1989 PNAS), has bequeathed part of her estate to the Biozentrum, University of Basel, for the specific purpose of setting up a student prize for scientific excellence in his memory.

An annual prize will be awarded to up to three PhD students achieving academic excellence in scientific research at the Biozentrum and the ability to describe these achievements in an essay. Awardees will be selected by the committee members of the Biozentrum Basel PhD Fellowships Program. The prize consists of CHF 1'500.00 per awardee and will be handed out at the Biozentrum Symposium of the following year.

PhD Students can apply during their PhD thesis and up to 1 year after their thesis defines but only with a subject/work done during the PhD thesis. Students should be encouraged by their supervisor to apply.


  • A written essay, of up to 500 words, about the project work and associated publication. The essay should include "Background", "Open Question/Hypothesis", "Achievements" and "Broder Impact" sections. The essay should contextualise the work for a broader scientific audience.
  • A supporting statement from the PhD thesis supervisor.
  • The publication in question, which has to be at least in revision at the time of application.

Applications should be submitted to the PhD Office (phd-biozentrumunibasch) by November 30 as a single pdf file.

Awardees Publication
2022 Enea Maffei, Group Jenal/Harms "Phage Paride hijack bacterial stress responses to kill dormant, antibiotic-tolerant cells"
2021 Polina Isaikina, Group Grzesiek “Structural basis of the activation of the CC chemokine receptor 5 by a chemokine agonist”
Manuel Ferreira Pinto, Group Arber “Functional diversity for body actions in the mesencephalic locomotor region”
2020 Bing Zhang , Group Pérez “Structure of a proton-dependent lipid transporter involved in lipoteichoic acids biosynthesis”
2019  Elisabetta Furlanis, Group Scheiffele “Landscape of ribosome-engaged transcript isoforms reveals extensive neuronal-cell-class-specific alternative splicing programs”
2018 Foivos Gypas, Group Zavolan "Terminal exon characterization with TECtool reveals an abundance of cell-specific isoforms." 
2017 Maj Brodmann, Group Basler “Francisella requires dynamic type VI secretion system and ClpB to deliver effectors for phagosomal escape “
Paolo Capelli, Group Arber “Locomotor speed control circuits in the caudal brainstem.” 
2016 Andreas J. Gruber, Group Zavolan A comprehensive analysis of 3’ end sequencing data sets reveals novel poly-adenylation signals and the repressive role of heterogeneous ribonucleoprotein C on cleavage and polyadenylation”
Ludwig Ruder, Group Arber “Long-distance descending spinal neurons ensure quadrupedal locomotor stability”
Lisa Traunmüller, Group Scheiffele “Control of neuronal synapse specification by a highly dedicated alternative splicing program”
Andrea Vettiger, Group Basler “Type VI secretion system substrates are transferred and reused among sister cells”
2015 Alexander Harms, Group Dehio "Adenylylation of Gyrase and Topo IV by FicTs Disrupts Bacterial DNA Topology"
Dominik Alexander Herbst, Group Maier "Mycocerosic Acid Synthase Reveals the Architecture of Reducing Polyketide Synthases"
Stefan Harmansa, Group Affolter "Dpp Spreading Is Required for Medial but not Lateral Wing Disc Growth"