Dr. Dagmar Walter and Dr. Amelie receive the Waltraud Lewenz prize at the award ceremony hosted in the DKFZ in December 2015. Pictured are (left to right) Prof. Michael Boutros, Scientific Director of the DKFZ; Dr. Dagmar Walter; Dr, Amelie Lier; and Dr. Michael Milsom, head of the HI-STEM/DKFZ Experimental Hematology group.

Dr. Dagmar Walter and Dr. Amelie Lier were awarded the 2015 Waltraud Lewenz prize for work carried out in the HI-STEM group, Experimental Hematology, led by Dr. Michael Milsom. The prize is awarded annually to young scientists who have published work judged to have furthered the understanding of cancer risk factors, cancer prevention or early detection of cancer. Drs. Walter and Lier were given this award based on the manuscript that they published in the prestigious journal Nature in April 2015, “Exit from dormancy provokes DNA damage-induced attrition in haematopoietic stem cells.”  The manuscript describes how environmental stress factors such as infection, inflammation and injury can lead to hematopoietic stem cell loss and the acquisition of potential cancer-causing mutations within the stem cell compartment.  As well as providing a new mechanism and model to study how cancer develops from the accumulation of DNA mutations within stem cells, this work also sheds new light on how stress-induced stem cell attrition is a likely driving force behind the normal ageing process.


Walter D., Lier A, Geiselhart A., Thalheimer F.B., Huntscha S., Sobotta M.C., Moehrle B., Brocks D., Bayindir I., Kaschutnig P., Müdder K., Klein C., Jauch A., Schroeder T., Geiger H., Dick T.P., Holland-Letz T., Schmezer P., Lane S.W., Rieger M.A., Essers M.A.G., Williams D.A.W., Trumpp A.and Milsom M.D. (2015). Exit from dormancy provokes DNA damage-induced attrition in haematopoietic stem cells. Nature, 520(7548): pp549-552).