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ESGCT Outstanding Achievement Award 2022

ESGCT are delighted to announce that the 2022 ESGCT Outstanding Achievement Award has been awarded to Prof. Christof von Kalle, and posthumously to Dr Manfred Schmidt.

The ESGCT Outstanding Achievement Award recognises individuals who have made a significant impact on the field of gene and cell therapy.

Christof will be presented with his award during the Presidential Symposium at the ESGCT Annual Congress in Edinburgh, when he will also introduce us to his research. Manfred's award will be received by his family.

We extend our congratulations to our 2022 Outstanding Achievement Award winners.

Prof. Dr. Christof von Kalle

Prof. Dr Christof von Kalle is the BIH Chair for Clinical Translational Sciences, and Founding Director of the Joint Clinical Study Center (CSC) of Charité and BIH

Since June 2019, Christof von Kalle has been BIH Chair for Clinical Translational Sciences at Charité Berlin and Founding Director of the common Clinical Study Center (CSC) of Charité and the Berlin Institute of Health (BIH). Since February 2019, he has been Member of the Advisory Council on the Assessment of Developments in the Health Care Sector (Federal Ministry of Health, BMG, Germany). From July 2005 to May 2019, Christof von Kalle was Head of the Department of Translational Oncology at the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ). Moreover, he was Managing Director and Head of the Department of Translational Oncology of the National Center for Tumor Diseases (NCT) Heidelberg from July 2005 to March 2018. From April 2018 to May 2019, he acted as Chief Research Officer at Sidra Medicine, Doha, Qatar.  

As a physician scientist with a clinical background in haematology/oncology and over 200 high-impact publications, Christof von Kalle is an internationally renowned leading scientist in stem-cell research, mutation analysis, and gene transfer. He studied Medicine at Cologne University and obtained his doctorate at the Department for Internal Medicine of Cologne University. Christof von Kalle received the Eva Luise Köhler Award for Rare Diseases (2011) and the Pioneer Series Award/Human Gene Therapy (2014) among others. 

Dr. Manfred Schmidt

Dr. Manfred Schmidt was a pioneer in the gene and cell therapy field, with more than 25 years of experience in the sector. He was the Co-Founder and CEO of GeneWerk GmbH, based in Heidelberg, Germany. His most recent academic role was as Section Head of Molecular and Gene Therapy at the German Cancer Research Center, also part of the National Center for Tumor Diseases in Heidelberg, Germany.

Manfred obtained his doctoral degree from the University of Freiburg, and a Diploma degree in Biology in University Hohenheim, Germany. He authored more than 120 peer-reviewed publications in international high-impact journals.

Manfred was instrumental in the development of Linear Amplification-Mediated PCR (LAM-PCR), which allowed the highly sensitive identification and sequencing of unknown DNA or RNA sequences, which are flanked by a known DNA or RNA region.

The application of LAM-PCR and its follow up development have been widely used in vector safety assessment of cell and gene therapy. The analysis of the efficiency and safety of vector systems for clinical gene therapy, combined with the application of high throughput sequencing technologies and the development of project specific bioinformatical analysis and data management systems, is his major research area.

Manfred passed away on 13 January 2022, aged 54. All of us at ESGCT extend our sincere condolences to his family, friends and colleagues.