Centre for Biological Signalling Studies

Award for outstanding dissertation

The Salome Gluecksohn-Waelsch Prize for the best doctoral dissertation recognizes the innovation potential of interdisciplinarity
Foto (L to R): Prof. Christoph Borner, Hanna Wagner and Prof. Andreas Jenny (New York)

The Spemann Graduate School of Biology and Medicine (SGBM), together with the Department of Genetics at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, New York has awarded this year’s Salome Gluecksohn-Waelsch Prize for the best dissertation to Hanna Wagner. With her doctoral supervisor Prof. Dr. Wilfried Weber of the BIOSS Centre for Biological Signalling Studies, she developed intelligent biohybrid materials by wiring biological processes into polymer materials. As laureate of this prize, Hanna Wagner has been invited to travel to New York to give seminar at the prestigious Albert Einstein College of Medicine, where Salome Gluecksohn-Waelsch was professor.

“I am deeply honored to receive this prize, and I am greatly looking forward to presenting my work at the research institution Salome Gluecksohn-Waelsch called home.” says Hanna Wagner.

In her doctoral work entitled Development of stimulus-responsive biohybrid hydrogels and computing materials systems, Hanna applied the principles of synthetic biology and electrical engineering to design materials systems with novel properties such as toxin detection and controlled drug release. In doing so, she successfully bridged disciplines of synthetic biology and materials sciences, similar to how Salome Gluecksohn-Waelsch combined embryology with genetics to pioneer the field of mammalian developmental genetics. Hanna will complete her thesis later this year, but her doctoral research has already resulted in several first and co-authorships on publications in some of the leading journals in her field. Two of these publications were highlighted in a recent press release.

Beyond her devotion to her research, Hanna Wagner is also an active member of the scientific life of SGBM and BIOSS. For instance, she led the organisational team for last year’s ‘Signals from the Invisible’ symposium, which celebrated the tenth anniversary of the two Excellence Initiative-funded institutions and attracted renowned speakers and scientists from around the globe.

“It makes me incredibly proud that Hanna has been awarded the Salome Gluecksohn-Waelsch Prize.”, says the laureate’s doctoral supervisor, Prof. Dr. Wilfried Weber. “This award and Hanna’s growing collection of publications are a testament to her exceptional talent and 4 years of hard work she has invested into her research. Whichever career path Hanna pursues, I am sure she will be a great success.”


More information about the prize and about the extraordinary life and achievements of Salome Gluecksohn-Waelsch can be found at the SGBM webpage:



Hanna Wagner

BIOSS Centre for Biological Signalling Studies

University of Freiburg

Tel: 0761/203-97652