Dirk Steinhilber is receiving the award for his research on the synthesis of bioresponsive nanogels and microgels for the encapsulation of proteins and cells and their subsequent controlled release. Steinhilber's research ideally combines organic chemistry and polymer chemistry, so-called soft matter, biomaterials, and biomedical aspects. His findings represent a breakthrough for regenerative cell therapy and form the basis for biomedical applications and biotherapeutics in diseases such as diabetes, cancer, and Alzheimer's. "His work thus represents an outstanding scientific achievement and offers a recognizable contribution to society in the form of applied medicine," according to the selecting committee.
Steinhilber studied Chemistry with Marketing at Reutlingen University and completed the international degree program in Polymer Science at Freie Universität Berlin. He earned his doctorate at Freie Universität Berlin, where he was supervised by the chemist Prof. Dr. Rainer Haag, and then worked as a postdoctoral researcher in the internationally renowned group of Prof. Dr. David A. Weitz at Harvard University (USA).
The Bruno Heck Science Prize is presented every two years to junior researchers up to the age of 35 for innovative research achievements that make a significant contribution to socially and politically relevant issues.