We are delighted to announce that Dr Stephan Uphoff, Hugh Price Fellow and Group Leader in Biochemistry, has been awarded a Research Prize by the Lister Institute for Preventative Medicine.

Every year the Lister Institute awards a handful of high value, prestigious research prizes to early-career biomedical scientists who have demonstrated outstanding performance and potential. The £250,000 Prize funding is very flexible and may be used to further a researcher’s work in many different ways, aside from supplementing their personal salary.

Stephan’s research focuses on understanding the molecular mechanisms of DNA repair and mutagenesis in bacterial cells. He says, “Mutagenesis drives evolutionary processes that lead to antibiotic resistance in bacterial pathogens. Despite their fundamental and medical importance, it remains unclear how mutational mechanisms function in cells and how they are regulated. My research group takes a quantitative multi-disciplinary approach to address these questions. We’re developing new, super-resolution microscopy methods to directly measure the movement of individual protein molecules inside living cells, so that we can visualise DNA repair reactions and detect the occurrence of new mutations in real-time.

The group also uses microfluidics technologies to follow the behaviour of single cells over many generations of growth. With these tools, Stephan’s research achieves a direct view into the mechanisms of bacterial evolution. He says, “Ultimately, we are trying to link our molecular-scale observations to explain how bacteria gain resistance to antibiotics during infection. This knowledge will be important to devise resistance-proof treatments and reverse the alarming rise resistant pathogens.”

Alongside the financial incentives Prize, award recipients also join a close-knit and highly accomplished community of past and present awardees that includes multiple senior Chairs, Fellows of the Royal Society and noted international academics.

Stephan says,”I am delighted to have been awarded this prize. It will allow my group to develop new imaging technologies which are broadly applicable in biology, biotechnology, and medicine.”

Of Stephan’s prize, the Lister Institute said, “This year out of 114 applications, four winners were chosen after evaluations and interviews via Zoom. Stephan was recognized for his highly innovative research programme in DNA repair. His laboratory develops tools to visualise DNA repair proteins at a single-molecule level and to detect mutation events within living bacterial cells."

Stephan was previously awarded the prestigious Colworth Medal by the Biochemical Society in recognition of his achievements in the field of molecular microbiology. 

Read more about the Lister Institute’s 2020 Research Prizes here