Schering Stiftung

Prize winner 

Prof. Dr. Patrick Cramer

Prof. Dr. Patrick Cramer

Prof. Cramer and his team

Prof. Cramer and his team
Photo: Irene Böttcher-Gajewski

Prof. Cramer and his team

Prof. Cramer and his team
Photo: Marcus Mueller-Saran

Cramers lab at MPI Göttingen

Cramers lab at MPI Göttingen

Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in Göttingen

Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in Göttingen
Photo: Mehle

Patrick Cramer

Ernst Schering Prize 2019

Patrick Cramer

Ernst Schering Prize 2019

Professor Patrick Cramer is Director at the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in Göttingen. Over the last two decades he has studied the atomic structure of RNA polymerase and many of its complexes with partner molecules, contributing to the development of several experimental methods of analysis. In addition to elucidating many detailed structures, he was able to show how our genetic information is regulated and used in cells. It was through his research that many basic principles of the transcription process and its regulation could be understood and made visible, leading to improved research on cancer growth, which involves the deregulated transcription of the genetic material.

For his outstanding research, Prof. Dr. Patrick Cramer is awarded the 2019 Ernst Schering Prize. A seven-member selection committee composed of international scientists chose Cramer’s research from among 38 nominations.

He was nominated by Prof. Dr. Thanos Halazonetis from the University of Geneva and Prof. Dr. Peter Rehling from the University Medical Center in Göttingen. “Professor Patrick Cramer has made outstanding contributions to our understanding of transcription. His studies have illuminated how transcription works at the atomic level, so that we can now literally “see” how genes are transcribed,” says Halazonetis.

Professor Rehling, who gives the introductory speech at the award ceremony, says: “Patrick Cramer is an outstanding scientist. I am delighted that his groundbreaking discoveries are honored with the Ernst Schering Prize. Cramer’s laboratory provided unique insights into the transcription process. His research lays the foundations for a better understanding of the molecular mechanisms of gene expression.”

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Side events 

Lecture to high-school students: How Genes Function

September 25, 2019
Patrick Cramer

Schulfarm Insel Scharfenberg, Berlin-Tegel (not open to the public)

Scientific public lecture: Mechanisms of transcription regulation

September 25, 2019, 2–3:30 p.m.
Patrick Cramer

Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine
Berlin Institute for Medical Systems Biology (BIMSB)
Room R 0.61
Hannoversche Str. 28 | 10115 Berlin
in English | No registration required

Media library

Gallery — September 24, 2019

Ernst Schering Prize and Friedmund Neumann Prize

Award Ceremony 2018

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Video — September 02, 2019

Patrick Cramer - Portrait

September 2019

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Award Ceremony 2019 

Award ceremony — September 24, 2019

Schering Stiftung awards Ernst Schering Prize to the molecular biologist Patrick Cramer. The bioinformatician Johannes Köster will be awarded with the Friedmund Neumann Prize.

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Invitation Card Award Ceremony

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Invitation Card Public Lecture

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Stefan Kaufmann is founding director and director of the Department of Immunology of the Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology in Berlin and Professor for Microbiology and Immunology at the Charité University Hospital in Berlin. He received his Ph.D. in biology (“summa cum laude”) from Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz and completed his habilitation in the field of immunology and microbiology at the Freie Universität Berlin in 1981. From 1987 until 1991, he was Professor for Medical Microbiology and Immunology, and from 1991 until 1998, he was Full Professor for Immunology at Ulm University.


Pico Caroni has been a senior group leader at the Friedrich Miescher Institute (FMI) for Biomedical Research and a professor of neurobiology at the Biozentrum/The Center for Molecular Life Sciences at the University of Basel since 1995. He studied biochemistry at ETH Zürich and subsequently worked on regeneration in the central nervous system in Martin Schwab’s lab at the Brain Research Institute of the University of Zurich. Since 1989, Caroni has been a researcher at the FMI – first as a junior group leader – studying the plasticity of defined neuronal circuits and systems. He is interested not only in the fundamentals of learning and memory but also in the impact of gene mutations on the circuits and the resulting mental disorders.


Britta Eickholt has been Professor of Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry at the Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin since 2011. She received her doctorate in 1998 at Guy's Hospital in London. In 2001, she received a lectureship at King's College London and started her own research group at the MRC Center for Developmental Neurobiology. She was appointed Professor of Molecular Neurobiology at King's College in 2010, before her move to Berlin in 2011. Her research focusses on the signaling mechanisms that regulate dynamic processes of the cytoskeleton in neuronal cells.


Carl-Henrik Heldin has, since 1992, been professor in Molecular Cell Biology at Uppsala University, Sweden. Between 1986 and 2017, he was the Branch Director of the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research in Uppsala. Professor Heldin is the chair of the Boards of the Nobel Foundation, the Science for Life Laboratory, and the European Molecular Biology Organization. His research interest is related to the mechanisms of signal transduction by growth regulatory factors, as well as their normal function and role in disease. An important goal is to explore the possible clinical utility of signal transduction antagonists.


Petra Knaus received her Ph.D. at the Center for Molecular Biology in Heidelberg in 1991. As a Research Fellow and Associate, she did her Postdoctoral Training at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, USA, until 1996. After her return to Germany, she was Junior Group Leader at the Biocenter in Würzburg. There she established her own lab with a focus on BMP receptor biology and signal transduction. In 2004 she became Full Professor for Biochemistry – Signaltransduction at the Institute for Chemistry and Biochemistry at the Freie Universität Berlin. In 2010 she received a W3 Professorship for Biochemistry – Signaltransduction and Regeneration at the Freie Universität Berlin and Charité. The interest of the Knaus lab is to understand the molecular mechanism of BMP signal transduction, and to identify common and distinct mechanistic concepts in different cell and tissue environments.


Hartmut Michel studied Biochemistry at the Universities of Tübingen and Munich. He completed his doctoral degree at the University of Würzburg in 1977 and habilitated in 1988 at the University of Munich. Since 1987 he is Director at the Max Planck Institute for Biophysics at Frankfurt/Main, where he leads the Department for Molecular Membrane Biology. In 1988, Hartmut Michel was awarded the Nobel Prize for Chemistry, together with Johannes Deisenhöfer and Robert Huber, for their investigation of the molecular structure of the photosynthesis reaction center in the rhodopseudomonas viridis bacterium.


Martin Oestreich has been Professor of Organic Chemistry (Synthesis & Catalysis) at TU Berlin since 2011. His appoitment was supported through an Einstein professorship by the Einstein Foundation Berlin. He studied chemistry at the Universities of Düsseldorf, Manchester, and Marburg (1991–1996) and received his doctoral degree at the University of Münster (1996–1999). After a postdoctoral stint at the University of California at Irvine (1999–2001), he completed his habilitation at the University of Freiburg (2001–2005). Martin Oestreich was Professor of Organic Chemistry at the University of Münster from 2006 until 2011. Visiting professorships took him to Cardiff (2005), Canberra (2010), and Kyoto (2018). His research interest range from homogeneous catalysis with main-group elements to elucidation of reaction mechanisms.


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