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News Release
November 19, 2018
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Karen Tiano +49 6151 72 44461

Merck Announces Winners of 2018 Life Science Awards
  • Twelve student finalists awarded in three fields: bioseparations, food & beverage safety and tumor biology
  • Grand prize winners Yu Cai, University of Colorado; Yanqi Qu, University of Massachusetts Amherst and Jun Ho Lee, Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology, each awarded $10,000

Darmstadt, Germany, November 19, 2018 — Merck, the vibrant science and technology company, recognized three graduate students who have demonstrated innovation in life science at an awards ceremony at the company’s global headquarters in Darmstadt, Germany recently.

Twelve finalists from across the globe (four in each of three awards categories: bioseparations, food & beverage safety, and tumor biology) presented their research to an audience of Merck scientists, and guests as part of the 2018 Life Science Awards. Yu Cai, Yanqi Qu and Jun Ho Lee were each named winners of the $10,000 grand prize in their respective categories.

“This year’s Life Science Award winners generated new insights into areas of deep interest to the applied sciences,” said Udit Batra, member of the Merck Executive Board and CEO, Life Science. “Each winner is not only a good scientist, they are curiously solving the toughest problems in life science,” he added.

Following is a list of the grand prize winners and their research topics:

  • Yu Cai, University of Colorado, “Real-time observations of nanoparticles in filtration membranes,” bioseparations winner.
  • Yanqi Qu, University of Massachusetts Amherst, “Safety and quality analysis of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages using surface-enhanced Raman scattering,” food and beverage safety winner.
  • Jun Ho Lee, Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology, “TonEBP promotes hepatocellular carcinoma development, therapeutic resistance and recurrence via inflammation and liver cancer stem cells,” tumor biology winner.

Finalists receiving $2,000 prizes were:

Bioseparations

  • Daniel Burgstaller, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Vienna, “Flocculation assisted primary separation and product capture by precipitation – How do we get it continuous?”
  • Ashton Lavoie, North Carolina State University, “Mixed-mode peptide ligands for improved clearance of CHO host cell proteins.”
  • Ujwal Patil, University of Houston, “Real-time monitoring of antibody in column breakthrough.”

Food & Beverage Safety

  • Imanuel Yüce, Justus Liebig University of Giessen, “Development of in situ and in silico tools as well as improvement of classical techniques for structure elucidation in planar chromatography.”
  • Anna Sophia Harrand, Cornell University, “Effects of strain diversity and growth conditions on subsequent bacterial growth.”
  • Shaoakang Zhang, University of Georgia, “Whole genome sequencing, a one-stop platform for foodborne pathogen subtyping, characterization and detection.”

Tumor Biology

  • Jan Lumibao, University of Illinois Urbana, Champaign, “Functional capacity of CHCHD2 in glioblastoma cells expressing EGFRvIII.”
  • Christina Mertens, Goethe-University Frankfurt, “Role of lipocalin-2 from tumor-associated macrophages as alternative iron transporter during tumor growth.”
  • Silvia Duarte Sanmiguel, Ohio State University, “Nanotechnology-based approaches towards elucidating and modulating the immunology of the tumor niche.”

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About Merck

Merck, the vibrant science and technology company, operates across healthcare, life science and performance materials. Around 51,000 employees work to make a positive difference to millions of people’s lives every day by creating more joyful and sustainable ways to live. From advancing gene editing technologies and discovering unique ways to treat the most challenging diseases to enabling the intelligence of devices – Merck is everywhere. In 2017, Merck generated sales of € 15.3 billion in 66 countries.

Scientific exploration and responsible entrepreneurship have been key to Merck’s technological and scientific advances. This is how Merck has thrived since its founding in 1668. The founding family remains the majority owner of the publicly listed company. Merck holds the global rights to the Merck name and brand. The only exceptions are the United States and Canada, where the business sectors operate as EMD Serono in healthcare, MilliporeSigma in life science, and EMD Performance Materials.