Dr. Mark Winderlich will be awarded the MTZ®-MPI Award 2010
On November 18, 2010, the MTZ®-MPI-Award will be awarded to Dr. Mark Winderlich at the Max Planck Institute in Münster in recognition of his outstanding scientific achievement. Mark Winderlich is the second winner of the MTZ®-MPI-Award. The MTZ®Foundation, which created this prize, was launched by Monika and Thomas Zimmermann. The couple has set themselves the task of supporting young scientists carrying out research into the causes and mechanisms of diseases. This is why they decided to decorate a researcher of the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Biomedicine in Münster every year. The award is endowed with a prize money of € 2,500 and intended to help the prize winners pursue their research projects by undertaking additional studies as well as internships abroad.
Within the framework of his dissertation, Mark Winderlich explained the molecular mechanism which determines the size or the diameter, respectively, of blood vessels in murine embryos as well as in newly-born animals - a mechanism that is also active in human endothelial cells. Endothelial cells form the inner cell layer of blood vessels and the first primitive vascular structures. Mark Winderlich was able to demonstrate that a molecule located on the surface of endothelial cells, phosphatase VE-PTP, is responsible for regulating the size of blood vessels. By means of specific antibodies directed against this molecule, he was able to dissociate the phosphatase from a receptor molecule, the Tyrosine kinase receptor Tie-2, and activate the receptor in such a way that this led to an increase in mitotic activity of the endothelial cells and hence to an enlargement and malformation of the blood vessels. Mark Winderlich’s work not only provides new insights into how the vascular system develops, but also has considerable potential for the therapy of tumours. Preliminary studies suggest that the antibodies against VE-PTP will also be capable of impairing the formation of healthy blood vessels in tumours of the adult organism in such a way that the antibodies can be applied to tumour therapies.
Mark Winderlich (29) studied biology at the Westphalian Wilhelms-University in Münster, specialising in biomedicine, zoology, botany and medical physics. He prepared his diploma thesis at the Max Planck Institute in the Department of Vascular Cell Biology headed by Professor Dietmar Vestweber. After his graduation, Vestweber invited him to join the Department as a PhD student. In April 2009, Winderlich defended his doctoral thesis “The Endothelial Phosphatase VE-PTP Regulates Tie-2 and VE-cadherin in Blood Vessel Development and Cell Adhesion”, which earned him the distinction of “summa cum laude”, the highest possible grade for dissertations.