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Theodor Körner Prize 2006

Theodor Körner Fonds, Preisverleihung, Universität Wien 2006 (c) Elke
On the 24th of aprile the Theodor Körner Price was awarded by the Federal President of Austria, Dr. Heinz Fischer. Among the laureates was Elke Griesmaier, member of the Neonatal Neuroscience Research Group Innsbruck (Supervisor: Prof. George Simbruner).

Theodor Körner Price 2006

Elke Griesmaier was awarded for the Theodor Körner Prize in the field of medicine, nature science and technic for her research project. She is working in the team of Dr. Matthias Keller (Supervisor: Prof. George Simbruner) in the Neonatal Neuroscience laboratory of the University Childrens Hospital, Department of Paediatrics II, Neonatology, Innsbruck. Her research project is focusing on preterm brain injury.

Preterm infants are at high risk of brain damage and subsequent neurological sequelae. Depending on the birth weight 20% to 50% of these infants suffer from severe motor disabilities and cognitive deficits. Apart from the socioeconomic effect with high costs for the health care system neurological adverse outcome is a severe burden to the child and to the parents. Until now treatment strategies focus on avoiding brain damage through good perinatal care and supportive treatment. As the cause of brain damage in preterms lies mainly in the prenatal period, postnatal therapies have not been effective in reducing its incidence. Thus a therapeutic approach is to use the regenerative potential of stem cells and endothelial progenitor cells (EPC) to regenerate damaged brain tissue.

In this project Dr. Elke Griesmaier is investigating in an animal model of hypoxic-ischemic brain injury, if the exogenous administration of endothelial progenitor cells reduces brain injury. This project is done in collaboration with Doz. Eberhard Gunsilius, Department of Internal Medicine, University Hospital Innsbruck.

Elke Griesmaier has studied human medicine from 1999 to 2005 in Innsbruck. She performed her doctoral thesis in the Neonatal Neuroscience laboratory. In her thesis she has shown that the exogenous administration of Erythropoietin reduced brain injury in the newborn mouse by more than half in comparison to control injected animals. In February 2006 she started to work as scientific coworker in a project about thermal and water balance in preterm infants.

Sponsorships for more than 50 years

Beside awards in the fields of medicine, nature science and technic, the Theodor-Körner-Fonds assigned promotiions for humanities, laws, socials and economic sciences. Furthermore 13 sponsorships have been awarded to artistic benefits. "It is very hard for young scientists to get along without support", says AK president Herbert Tumpel at the award ceremony supported by the AK and ÖGB initiated Körner-Fonds. The Theodor-Körner-Fonds was founded to advance young scientists and artists in 1953 on the occasion of the 80th birthday of the in the past Federal president, Theodor Körner. Since then the fonds has awarded more than 3300 scientists and artists for promising firstling-works. 

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