Dirk Linke (37) has been awarded the Advancement Award of the German Society for Hygiene and Microbiology (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Hygiene und Mikrobiologie, DGHM). The award includes prize money of 2,500 Euro and will be presented on September 20th 2009 during the 61st Annual Meeting of the DGHM in Göttingen.
Dirk Linke studies the cell wall of bacteria. This is made of different carbohydrates, lipids and proteins, and is not only a protective barrier, but also modulates interactions with the environment. For example, some pathogenic bacteria produce a biofilm which prevents their recognition and elimination by the immune system of the host. Linke and his fellow researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology in Tübingen strive to track down pathogenicity mechansims using bioinformatics methodology. They are looking for shared characteristics of the surface proteins of the cell wall of so-called gram-negative bacteria. Such knowledge could help to develop a broad range vaccine against multiple pathogens. Diseases caused by gram-negative bacteria include severe diarrhoeas, pneumonia and bacterial meningitis. “I am very happy about this award from the German Society for Hygiene and Microbiology. It encourages me to stay in my field of research“, says Linke. With the prize money he at last wants to go on holiday once again – in order to keep up his motivation!The “Deutsche Gesellschaft für Hygiene und Mikrobiologie” (DGHM) is a scientific professional society. It aims to unite all scientists in Germany working in microbiology and hygiene and to enhance research and teaching in the different branches of microbiology and infection immunology as well as hygiene and healthcare by furthering the exchange of scientific and practical expertise and supporting scientific events and scientific collaborations. Every year it assigns several research awards in different categories.