Microbiologist Daan Swarts has won the triennial research prize. During the Dies Natalis celebration on Monday 9 March, the PhD researcher received a small statue and a cheque from rector Martin Kropff.
Swarts won the prize for his discovery of a defence mechanism in bacteria that is entirely new to science. This mechanism recognizes hereditary material from an enemy virus and de-activates it. He published his findings in September 2014 in Nature. The new systems could be useful in the future for a targeted adaptation of DNA in both bacteria and human cells. Three years ago the prize was won by a microbiologist too – Stan Brouns.