2023 Award Winner : Dr. Maurice Michel

Appointment at time of winning the Award:

Assistant Professor at Science for Life Laboratory, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden

Maurcie Michel, born 1986, receives the € 20.000,-- award for his research on artificial functions of DNA repair enzymes for the treatment of disease. Dr. Michel showed that binding of a small molecule to the active site of a DNA repair enzyme not only increases its activity but also prompts it to carry out a reaction not found in the free protein, leading to enhanced DNA repair after oxidative damage.

The Jury: “These ground-breaking discoveries may have far-reaching applications in the treatment of cancer or age-related degeneration”.

Maurice Michel: “It is an immense honour and I feel humbled to be awarded with the 2023 Eppendorf Award. This would not have been possible without the contribution and spirit of many scientists, be it colleagues or collaborators, as well as mentors and an incredible family I call mine. The award recognises the potential of manipulating enzymatic functions in living cells at will. Using small molecule organocatalysts, we installed new biochemical reactions within an enzyme and have thus succeeded in rewriting the base excision repair pathway. Our research now focuses on a broadening of this technology base by investigating other enzymes and understand biochemical reaction pathways and their biological consequences. Rerouting or reducing oxidative DNA damage depending on individual needs could serve as a new strategy for the development of the precision therapeutics of the future.”

The official prize ceremony took place on June 22, 2023 at the Advanced Training Centre of the EMBL in Heidelberg. The laudation honoring Maurice Michel’s achievements was held by Award Jury Chair Prof. Reinhard Jahn, Max Planck Institute for Multidisciplinary Sciences, Göttingen, Germany.

Watch the recording of the ceremony here.


How to teach an enzyme “to whistle”

In this podcast, Maurice Michel, winner of the Eppendorf Award for Young European Investigators 2023, speaks about his research on artificial functions of DNA repair enzymes for the teatment of disease.


Watch the recording of the Ceremony.