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Biologist Julia Weigand earns Adolf Messer Award

Bad Soden. Germany. – In search of fresh approaches for new cancer treatments biologist Julia Weigand earns Adolf Messer Award.

Her research seeks to develop fresh approaches for the development of new cancer treatments: Dr. Julia Weigand, research fellow in the Biology Department, received the Adolf Messer Award 2016 with its 50,000-euro endowment – the most highly endowed award for research work at Darmstadt University of Technology. The award is given annually by the non-profit Adolf Messer Foundation.

All multicellular organisms, including we humans, need oxygen for their cells to produce energy – in other words, for survival. Normally, the vascular system supplies oxygen to each and every cell of our body. If that supply is not adequately assured, however, the cell dies.

Many diseases can lead to a reduction in the supply of oxygen to the cells: a heart attack or a stroke, for example. 35-year-old Julia Weigand is particularly interested in the way oxygen deficiency contributes to the onset of cancer. After all, cancer essentially amounts to uncontrolled cell growth. As a result, the cancer cells soon outgrow the existing blood system and, together with that, also the oxygen supply. Rather than die, however, cancer cells are able to adapt to the low oxygen concentration and can even make use of that capability to spread to other parts of the body (metastasis).

Weigand's research examines how cancer cells adapt to oxygen deficiency at the molecular level. Specifically, she studies changes in ribonucleic acid, the molecule which mediates the flow of genetic material for protein synthesis. Weigand analyses how different types of cancer react to oxygen deficiency, with the aim of identifying fresh approaches for the development of new cancer treatments.

About the award

Adolf Messer founded the Messer company in Höchst am Main in 1898. At that time, the company was involved in the manufacture of acetylene generators. In memory of Adolf Messer, who would have turned 100 on 6th April 1978, the Messer family established the Adolf Messer Foundation that same year. The foundation itself is now a shareholder in the Messer Group, the world's largest family-run industrial gases company. Stefan Messer serves as CEO in the third generation.

The Adolf Messer Foundation’s award together with its 50,000-euro endowment is conferred annually. It promotes the research and teaching of junior scientists at Darmstadt University of Technology. It honours out-standing work in natural science and engineering, as well as in economics, social science and humanities.

Foto: Stefan Messer awards Dr. Julia Weigand with the Adolf Messer Award by


Messer Cutting Systems is a global supplier of cutting edge technology. The company offers products and services for the metalworking industry which set standards world-wide. As market leader in its branch, the machine manufacturer supplies complete solutions and concentrates strategically on advising its customers and customer oriented innovation. Here, the company focusses on the digitalisation of processes and products. Messer Cutting Systems is represented with more than 800 employees in 5 main locations with production facilities and in more than 50 countries.

The product range includes oxyfuel, plasma and laser cutting systems from hand guided machines right up to special machines for shipbuilding as well as machines and equipment for oxyfuel welding, cutting, brazing, soldering and heating. Spare parts, repairs, modernisation, maintenance and service as well as environmental technology round out the product portfolio. In-house software solutions optimise production and business processes. The product range is extended by solutions from technology partners, for example in the field of automation.

An intensive dialogue with our customers has prime position – the modern training centre makes this claim clear. World-wide, Messer Cutting Systems is the partner of choice for cutting systems, oxyfuel technology and customer consultancy.