(Vienna, 14 June 2021) The Austrian Academy of Sciences has awarded the Johann Wilhelm Ritter von Mannagetta Prize for Medicine, which is worth €15,000, to cell biologist Joanna Loizou. This is in recognition of the outstanding contribution she has made in the field of genome stability in oncology. The scientist sees this not only as a recognition of her scientific work but also as an acknowledgement of the important contribution that basic research makes to advances in cancer treatment. Joanna Loizou is group leader at MedUni Vienna's Institute of Cancer Research and a member of the Comprehensive Cancer Center (CCC) of MedUni Vienna and Vienna General Hospital.
Her work is primarily focused on the consequences that DNA damage and the associated repair mechanisms have on genome stability. Loizou and her team want to shed light onto some obscure areas of this field, to provide a better understanding of cancer development and to identify innovative treatment approaches.
For many reasons, the scientist is delighted to have been awarded the Mannagetta Prize: "First of all, it is a recognition of my work. Beyond that, the fact that a cell biologist has won a Prize for Medicine highlights the clinical importance of my work. And last but not least, it can be seen as confirmation of the great importance that basic research has for oncology."
More promotion and less mentoring
In addition to her research work, Loizou is also committed to the promotion of women in science. She believes: "We are not so much in need of more mentoring programmes as people who actively promote women, motivate them and enable them to take the next step in their careers. In this sense, I see the nominations for the Mannagetta Prize as a positive signal, not only for me but for other female researchers as well."
About the Mannagetta Prize
Once a year, the Austrian Academy of Sciences awards the Johann Wilhelm Ritter von Mannagetta Prize for Medicine in recognition of outstanding work in the field of medical research. In 2020, it was awarded for research into the mechanisms of cancer development. Candidates must be aged 45 or less and must have produced outstanding research work in their field. In addition, they must be working at an Austrian university or research institution at the time of their nomination and must be nominated by an expert in their field.
About Joanna Loizou
Joanna Loizou grew up in Cyprus and moved to England for her university education. It was there that she completed her Bachelors degree in biological sciences at the University of Salford in 2000 and her PhD in biochemistry at the University of Manchester and at the MRC Genome Damage & Stability Center in 2004. From 2004 until 2007, she worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) in Lyon, France. She subsequently worked at London Research Institute (LRI) from 2007 until 2011, again as a postdoctoral researcher. In 2011, she moved to Vienna to head up her own research group at the Research Center for Molecular Medicine of the Austrian Academy of Sciences (CeMM). Since February 2020, the cancer researcher has been a group leader at MedUni Vienna's Institute of Cancer Research and member of the Comprehensive Cancer Center (CCC) of MedUni Vienna and Vienna General Hospital.
Loizou has authored numerous scientific publications, obtained generous research grants, including an ERC Synergy Grant, and is actively involved in teaching.