The Prix Schläfli of the Swiss Academy of Sciences awards each year the best PhD theses in the Natural Sciences. It is one of the oldest prizes in Switzerland, established in 1866. We present here biologists who won the prize in the last years.
Small biological building blocks are her thing: biologist Anna-Katharina Pfitzner has researched a mechanism that is key to many processes in cell biology.Image: Anna-Katharina Pfitzner
Gregor Weiss has two passions: mountain sports and biology. What connects the two? You can only reach your goal with perseverance and team spirit. This also applies to his work on the body's own defence against urinary tract infections, which earned him the Prix Schläfli award in biology.Image: Miki Feldmüller
People thought that there was nothing new to be discovered in plant anatomy. Au contraire, Alice Berhin discovered a kind of protective layer on the root tips of seedlings. This got her the Prix Schläfli award in Biology.Image: Alice Berhin
On a beautiful spring day such at ETH Hönggerberg, we sit outside at the café to talk. Rebekka Wild seems very relaxed, as if she had nothing more important to do than enjoy the sun. However, appearances are deceptive: she works pretty much 150 per cent of a normal working day, reads specialist literature in the evenings - and yes, sometimes even a book.Image: Rossitza Irobalieva
Those who frequent nightclubs know that when they wear white, their clothes take on a special glow in UV light. But researchers took a long time to realise that plants have a very similar "nightlife": the ways in which the colours of flowers determine which pollinating insects and birds they will attract have long been an important field of research, but the researchers – who mostly worked during normal working hours – only focused on the situation during daylight, on bright and vibrant flowers and eyes that specialise in seeing colour. In her research work, Hester Sheehan also looked at the way this phenomenon works during the night: boring white petunias that appear midnight black in the UV spectrum. An eye-catcher for nectar-hunting moths that are active during the night.
House of Academies