Pfizer Research Prizes for Basel researchers
The Pfizer Research Prize is one of the most prestigious research awards in the field of medicine in Switzerland. This year, the Pfizer Research Prize Foundation has honored seven researchers from the Basel research hub with an award.
26 January 2023 | Anika Zielenski
The Research Prize has a long-standing tradition in Switzerland. For over 30 years, the Pfizer Research Prize Foundation has recognized outstanding research in the fields of basic and clinical research with an award and a price sum of 15,000 Swiss Francs.
A total of 11 projects and 21 researchers are honored at this year’s award ceremony, which takes place in Zurich on 26 January. Almost half of the award-winning projects are from the Basel research landscape:
- In his research project, which was awarded the Pfizer Research Prize in the category "infectious diseases, rheumatology, and immunology”, Dr. Jonas Lötscher demonstrated the importance of magnesium for our immune system. In a low magnesium environment, the body’s immune defense against pathogens and cancer cells is impaired. This may be important for cancer patients treated with immunotherapies. Jonas Lötscher is a postdoctoral researcher at the Department of Biomedicine at the University of Basel and a physician at the University Hospital Basel.
- PD Dr. Dr. Philipp Krisai is a lecturer (Privatdozent) at the University of Basel as well as a cardiologist, specializing in electrophysiology at the University Hospital Basel. His work on silent brain infarcts in patients with atrial fibrillation was recognized with the award for clinical research in the category “cardiovascular medicine, urology and nephrology”. The study shows that brain infarcts are relatively frequent, despite a treatment with anticoagulative drugs and are directly connected to the patients cognitive decline.
- The prize for clinical research in "pediatrics" was awarded to Dr. Gillian Levine and
PD Dr. Julia Bielicki for their study on antibiotic exposure in children under the age of 5 years in middle to low income countries. The researchers analyzed health data from over 40 countries and identified large differences in the use of antibiotic treatments. Gillian Levine is a postdoctoral researcher a the Swiss Institute for Tropical and Public Health (Swiss TPH). Julia Bielicki is a senior physician in pediatrics and leads a research group at the University Children’s Hospital Basel.
- Elevated levels of cardiac troponin T in the blood are frequently used to diagnose heart attacks. However, Dr. Jeanne du Fay de Lavallaz and Dr. Alexanda Prepoudis from the Cardiovascular Research Center at the University Hospital Basel found that patients with long-lasting skeletal muscle diseases can also have high concentrations of cardiac troponin T in their blood, which might lead to misdiagnoses. The study was awarded the prize for clinical research in the "cardiovascular medicine, urology and nephrology” category.
- High pollen levels in the air can trigger respiratory symptoms in both adults and children. Dr. Amanda Gisler from the research team of Prof. Dr. Urs Frey is the first to also demonstrate this effect in healthy infants. As early as during the first year of life, increased exposure to pollen can lead to symptoms such as coughing or wheezing. Amanda Gisler conducted this study as part of her doctoral studies at the University Children's Hospital Basel. The research project was recognized with the Pfizer Research Prize in clinical research in the field of "pediatrics".