Acknowledged for her groundbreaking cell-biological work on the mechanisms of epigenetic gene regulation, Pakistan-born Asifa Akhtar has been selected as a recipient of Germany’s Leibniz Prize — one of the most prestigious awards of the country.
Germany’s Max Planc society — a fundamental research and science organization, where Akhtar is also serving as the first international female Vice President — shared the exciting news on their social media.
“Very excited that two Max Planc Press scientists are among the 2021 Leibniz Preis recipients: our Vice President Asifa Akthar, MPI of Immunobiology & Epigenetics and Volker Springel, MPI for Astrophysics. Congratulations!” they posted.
The Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize, recognised as the most important research award in Germany, rewards a maximum of €2.5 million per award to its winners.
Launched under the Leibniz Programme established in 1985, it aims to improve the working conditions of outstanding researchers, expand their research opportunities, relieve them of administrative tasks, and help them employ particularly qualified early career researchers.
Born in Karachi, Akhtar obtained her doctorate at the Imperial Cancer Research Fund in London, UK, in 1997 before moving to Germany where she was a Postdoctoral fellow at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg and the Adolf-Butenandt-Institute in Munich from 1998 to 2001.
The scientist was also the recipient of the Feldberg Prize in 2017.
Recognised as Germany’s most successful research organisation since its establishment in 1948, no fewer than 18 Nobel laureates have emerged from the ranks of its scientists, putting the Max Planc society on par with the best and most prestigious research institutions worldwide.