Eicke Latz, director of the Institute of Innate Immunity at the University of Bonn and scientist at the DZNE will be awarded the “Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize”, which is considered as the most prestigious research award in Germany. The awards ceremony will be held on 19 March 2018 in Berlin.
Prof. Eicke Latz will share the Leibniz Prize with Munich immunologist Veit Hornung. These scientists are among the world’s most influential researchers in the field of innate immune responses. Their seminal papers on cytosolic sensing, which uniquely complement one another, have contributed to the international advancement of this area of research.
For many years Eicke Latz has been studying the ‘inflammation workshop’ of cells. He is especially interested in the activation mechanisms of the inflammasome, a multiprotein complex stimulated by bacterial components or uric acid crystals. Latz discovered the DNA-sensing AIM2 inflammasome and demonstrated the effect of crystalline or aggregate structures in immune system cells. Since the activation of inflammasomes plays an important role in lifestyle diseases such as diabetes or Alzheimer’s, his research has important implications for the diagnosis and treatment of these conditions. Through his work, Latz has had a profound impact on the field of innate immunity, developing new therapeutic concepts and influencing other research areas such as metabolic science and neuroscience.
Latz earned his doctorate from the Humboldt University of Berlin in 2001 and, after completing his medical training, began working at Merck Research Laboratories in Rahway, New Jersey. He subsequently held various positions at the University of Massachusetts Medical School (UMass), most recently as a professor. In 2009 he was appointed to a professorship at the University of Bonn, where he founded the Institute of Innate Immunity, while continuing to work as a professor at UMass in Worcester. Latz is also a scientist at the DZNE.
Note: this information was adapted from a press release of the DFG.