Heinrich Emanuel Merck Award 2015

Heinrich Emanuel Merck Award 2015

Author: ChemViews

Professor Petra Dittrich, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH), Zurich, Switzerland, has receives the 2015 Heinrich Emanuel Merck Award for Analytical Science by Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany. The prize was presented at the Euroanalysis 2015 conference in Bordeaux, France, on September 10, 2015.

The award recognizes scientists under the age of 45 whose work focuses on new methods in chemical analysis with applications aimed at improving the quality of human life, for example in fields such as life science, environmental protection, or the biosciences. Professor Dittrich is honored for her “pioneering work and advances in the research field of bioanalytics”.

Professor Dittrich’s group developed a method that allows the chemical analysis of individual cells, i.e., the quantification of intracellular compounds such as proteins and metabolites. The new method combines microfluidic cell trapping and isolation with immunoassays, namely, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISAs). Single cells are captured in a defined volume as small as a few hundred picoliters. The analytical microfluidic platform is applicable to a wide range of molecules, and also to various cell types including mammalian cells, yeast cells, and bacteria.

Petra Dittrich studied chemistry at the University of Bielefeld, Germany, and at the Universitry of Salamanca, Spain. She received her Ph.D. from the Max Planck-Institute for Biophysical Chemistry, Göttingen, Germany in 2003. She was a postdoctoral researcher at the Institute for Analytical Sciences (ISAS), Dortmund, Germany, from 2004 to 2008. She then became Assistant Professor at ETH Zurich, and since 2014, she is Associate Professor for Bioanalytics at the Department of Biosystems Science and Engineering there. Among other honors, Professor Dittrich received the Analytica Forschungspreis by Roche Diagnostics and the Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (GBM) in 2010.

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