Biochemist and structural biologist Prof. Robert Tampé of Goethe University Frankfurt has received a research fellowship worth $250,000 (EUR 230,000). He was granted Columbia University’s “Schaefer Scholar Award,” bestowed annually on scientists for outstanding academic achievements in human physiology. One of Prof. Tampé’s research projects will be supported by $200,000 during a visiting fellowship at Columbia University; he will also receive $50,000 in discretionary funding. The prize was awarded at a ceremony in New York on June 21st, 2023.
Professor Katrina Armstrong, Chief Executive Officer of Columbia University Irving Medical Center and the university’s Vice President for Health and Biomedical Sciences, congratulated Prof. Robert Tampé on the award: “We are pleased to offer you this opportunity to strengthen and expand your research. Dedicated researchers like you are absolutely necessary to further scientific discovery and medical innovation. Congratulations for this well-deserved honor, and best wishes for your continued success. We look forward to welcoming you to Columbia!”
Together with his collaborative partner, Prof. Filippo Mancia of the Department of Physiology and Cellular Physics at Columbia University, Tampé will pursue a research project in New York to elucidate transport mechanisms within the cell that are essential for triggering an immune response. His research focuses on the endoplasmic reticulum, a complex membrane system within the cell, which, among others, produces membrane proteins that are transported to the cell’s outer envelope, where they are presented to the immune system as antigens and can trigger an immune response. Tampé will study a protein complex central to this process, called the peptide loading complex (PLC), which is the target of many pathogens and cancer cells that subvert the immune response in this way. The research could result in new ways to boost the immune system against pathogens or cancer.