Life Science Research Awards Austria 2020

Thomas Gaßler (IMMB) was awarded the Life Science Research Award in the category “Excellence and Societal Impact”. The prize honors young scientists for their outstanding publications.

Thomas Gaßler, first-author of the publication "The industrial yeast Pichia pastoris is converted from a heterotroph into an autotroph capable of growth on CO2" published in Nature Biotechnology, was honoured with the Life Science Research Award Austria 2020 in the category “Excellence and Societal Impact”. The prize is given to young researchers by the Austrian Association of Molecular Life Sciences and Biotechnology and the Federal Ministry for Economic and Digital Affairs for outstanding publications which might have a high impact on our society. The work reveals how the metabolic lifestyle of the yeast Pichia pastoris can be changed from heterotroph to autotroph, which enables this yeast to utilize CO2 as carbon source. The study proves the concept of synthetic autotrophy in yeast and may promote the development of novel technologies for sustainable bioproduction.

The study was carried together with Prof. Diethard Mattanovich, who also supervised Thomas Gaßler during his PhD Thesis (carried out wboithin the interdisciplinary PhD graduate program “Biomolecular Technology of Proteins – BioToP”) at BOKU and acib. Thomas Gaßler is currently supported by a Spin-off Fellowship funded by the Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG) together with Michael Egermeier.