Johann-Georg-Zimmermann Medal goes to Peter Lichter

Professor Peter Lichter has been presented with the Johann-Georg-Zimmermann Medal 2014/2015 for his life’s work. His merits include groundbreaking findings in the areas of molecular cytogenetics and genome structure. Furthermore, he developed new technologies to explain basic mechanisms of carcinogenesis.

Peter Lichter (picture: DKFZ)

The genome researcher’s outstanding achievements include the development of fluorescence-in-situ-hybridization (FISH) procedures to detect specific genomic regions in cell nuclei and the array-CGH (comparative genomic hybridization) procedure, with which DNA replications and losses can be identified in high resolution.
Both methods have developed into indispensable tools in medical genetics and cancer research in the last ten to fifteen years. In the course of his research Peter Lichter has always promoted application of these methods in daily clinical practice, to the benefit of patients.
Peter Lichter has been coordinator of the “PedBrain Tumor” research group since 2009, which systematically analyzes the molecular genetic causes of brain tumors in children as part of the International Cancer Genome Consortium (ICGC). Through such analyses, genetic modifications have already been successfully identified which reveal points of action for new treatment strategies and provide information on how available medicines can be used in a more targeted way.
Peter Lichter is Head of the “Molecular Genetics” Department at the German Cancer Research Centre in Heidelberg. At e:Med he is in charge of the “SYS-GLIO - system-based predictions for the biological and clinical behavior of gliomas” research group.
His work has been honored on several occasions; for example he was awarded the Karl Freudenberg Prize in 1991, the Walther and Christine Richtzenhain Prize in 1993, the German Cancer Prize in 2002 (with Klaus-Michael Debatin), the German Cancer Aid Prize in 2003, the European Society of Human Genetics Award in 2012 and the Jacob-Henle Medal in 2012. He is the author and co-author of hundreds of scientific publications.
The Johann-Georg-Zimmermann Medal and the simultaneously conferred Johann-Georg-Zimmermann Research Award are among the highest accolades for cancer research merits in Germany. The prize was awarded at the Hanover Medical School on 4 February 2015.
The Johann-Georg-Zimmermann Medal commemorates the Swiss doctor, scholar, philosopher and writer Johann Georg Ritter von Zimmermann, who worked in Hanover from 1768 to 1795. A large number of German and international researchers have so far been honored.