Microbiologist Andreas Bäumler of the School of Medicine and the College of Biological Sciences has been named a recipient of the 2021 Robert Koch Prize, given by Germany’s Robert Koch Foundation for achievement in microbiology and immunology — a prize that is considered one of the most prestigious awards in science.
Bäumler is a professor and vice chair of research in the Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology, and also affiliated with four graduate groups: Microbiology; Immunology; Integrative Pathobiology; and Biochemistry, Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology.
He shares the prize with Yasmine Belkaid, immunologist and senior investigator at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and adjunct professor at the University of Pennsylvania.
“The Robert Koch Prize is shared this year to recognize groundbreaking research that shows how, on the one hand, our microflora train our immune system, and on the other hand, our intestinal epithelium determines the composition of our microflora, and what role disruptions of this dialogue between microflora and us play in infectious and inflammatory diseases,” the foundation said in a news release.
UC Davis Professor Satya Dandekar, chair of the Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology, said: “Dr. Bäumler has made seminal contributions for advancing our knowledge of the microbial dysbiosis during gut inflammatory infections. He is an exceptional scientist and a great mentor to junior researchers.”
The award ceremony is scheduled for Nov. 19 in Berlin. As of today (Nov. 8), the prize of 120,000 euros is the equivalent of $139,075.
Wolfgang Plischke, chair of the Robert Koch Foundation, said: “At a time when science and research are constantly at the center of public interest and are often the subject of unfiltered discussion on social networks, it is more important than ever to honor the hard work, unwavering diligence and thirst for knowledge of all the men and women who have dedicated their lives to medicine and biology.”
Robert Koch (1843‐1910), after whom the prize is named, founded modern bacteriology. For this he received the Nobel Prize for Medicine and Physiology in 1905. Koch headed the Institute for Infectious Diseases in Berlin from 1891 until his retirement in 1904.