“With her studies, Dr. Uhlenhaut has illuminated the molecular mode of action of steroid hormones such as cortisone. She has shown how the hormone receptor inactivates inflammatory genes by directly binding to the DNA of the genetic material, thus refuting a central hypothesis postulating that the receptor exerts its anti-inflammatory effect not through direct binding to the DNA, but through interactions with other proteins. Her discovery not only contributes to the fundamental understanding of gene regulation processes, it also has clinical relevance, e.g. for future approaches to treating diabetes, asthma or hypertension,” said Professor Stefan H.E. Kaufmann, chairman of the Foundation Council of the Schering Foundation and managing director of the Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology, explaining the decision of the jury.
Since 2013 Nina Henriette Uhlenhaut has been head of the Emmy Noether group “Molecular Endocrinology” at Helmholtz Zentrum München. Her main area of interest is on the gene regulation mechanisms that underlie the hormonal responses of our body. Here her focus is on transcriptional repression, in order to understand how genes are inactivated.