Rainwater Prize for Innovative Early-Career Scientist:
Dr. Wegmann, Research Group Leader at DZNE and ECN Member, is studying tau protein actions in neurodegenerative diseases by utilizing different experimental models and methodologies to discover tau's normal function and misfunction in the diseased brain. She finds a way to master the difficult translational leap, from test tube to human, by validating biochemical, biophysical and cytological results on postmortem human brain tissue. Her general interest in solving difficult problems drove her to get an engineering degree and later expand into biophysics and brain pathology of tau. Currently, Wegmann and her group focus on identifying new interactions of Tau and determining the role of tau phase separation in Alzheimer’s disease and tauopathies.
Dr. Wegmann, recipient of the 2023 Rainwater Prize for Innovative Early-Career Scientist
“I feel very honored! With the prize money, I will further push my research into how the tau protein exerts its toxic effect in different ways, which are not fully understood,” said Dr. Wegmann. “We do not understand the actual function of this protein yet and will try to expand our knowledge of its basic biology to aid in disease research.”
Drs. Cleveland, Bennett, Miller, and Wegmann were nominated for the Rainwater Prize’s Outstanding Innovation ($400,000) and Early-Career ($200,000) Prizes based on published and peer-reviewed research that contributed significantly to neurodegenerative disease research. They were selected based on the quality of research and applicability to a tauopathy, leadership, mentorship, and positive impact within the scientific community.
“I could not be more excited about this year’s winners of the Rainwater Prize,” said Todd Rainwater, Trustee of the Rainwater Charitable Foundation. “The presentation of the Outstanding Innovation Prize to a collaborative group of scientists advancing drug discovery efforts recognizes the importance of team science. The selection of Dr. Wegmann for this year’s early-career prize highlights the exciting scientific discoveries happening in Europe and across the globe. I know my dad would be so proud of these scientists and their important advances to the field.”
About the Rainwater Charitable Foundation’s Medical Research
The Rainwater Charitable Foundation (RCF) was created in the early 1990s by renowned private equity investor and philanthropist Richard E. Rainwater. RCF supports a range of programs in K-12 education, medical research, and other worthy causes. In order to deliver on its mission to accelerate the development of new diagnostics and treatments for tau-related neurodegenerative disorders, the Rainwater Charitable Foundation Medical Research Team manages the Tau Consortium and the Rainwater Prize Program. With over $161 million invested in medical research to date, the Rainwater Foundation has helped to advance eight treatments into human trials.
Source: Rainwater Charitable Foundation
More information: From passion for tinkering to world-class science
Susanne Wegmann, PhD, Dipl.-Ing.
intern: Virchowweg 6