The Leopoldina is honoring Professor Matthias Tschöp with the Carus Medal for his revolutionary discoveries on signaling pathways of gut-brain communication. He discovered the role of the gastric factor ghrelin as a "hunger hormone" and investigated other important mechanisms that show which signaling pathways regulate food intake, energy and glucose metabolism as well as body weight and fat mass. Specifically, Matthias Tschöp's discoveries on the molecular communication between the gastrointestinal system and the brain enabled him to develop a whole series of novel drug candidates that combine the functions of several hormones in one molecule. In preclinical models, these were able to completely eliminate obesity, hypercholesterolemia and insulin intolerance. Numerous clinical studies with these active substances are underway, and preliminary data promise significant progress in the treatment of diabetes and obesity.
Since 1896, the Leopoldina has honored important scientific discoveries or research achievements of younger scientists in a field represented in the Leopoldina. This year the DZD scientist Professor Matthias Tschöp (born 1967), scientific director of the Helmholtz Diabetes Center and Helmholtz Pioneer Campus at the Helmholtz Zentrum München and adjunct professor at Yale University, is one of the two award winners. Tschöp heads the research area "New Therapeutic Concepts" at the German Center for Diabetes Research (DZD) where new drugs for the prevention and treatment of diabetes are developed.
Tschöp is one of an illustrious number of Carus Medal winners: among others, Nobel laureate Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard (1989), Stefan Hell (2013), who was also awarded the Nobel Prize for Chemistry one year after receiving the Carus Medal, or Emmanuelle Charpentier, who received the medal in 2015 for the breakthrough discovery of the CRISPR / Cas method of gene editing.