30. September 2020
Hector Fellow Doris Wedlich Passed Away
© Hector Fellow Academy

Hector Fellow found­ing member Doris Wedlich passed away

With regret, we have to announce that Doris Wedlich, found­ing member of the Hector Fellow Academy and long-time profes­sor of zoology at the Karlsruhe Insti­tute of Technol­ogy (KIT), passed away on Septem­ber 20, 2020.

As head of Division I at the KIT, she had a lasting influ­ence on the devel­op­ment of the scien­tific disci­plines of biology, chemistry, and process engineer­ing at KIT from 2009 until her retire­ment in Febru­ary 2020.

After her studies and doctor­ate at the Univer­sity of Münster, Doris Wedlich's scien­tific career started as a postdoc­toral fellow at the Max Planck Insti­tute for Devel­op­men­tal Biology in Tübin­gen. This was followed by positions as research group leader at the Insti­tute of Molec­u­lar Biology and Biochem­istry of the Free Univer­sity of Berlin and a profes­sor­ship at the Univer­sity of Ulm before she joined the KIT.

Start­ing from a fasci­na­tion with molec­u­lar biology, Doris Wedlich's research was mainly devoted to the molec­u­lar under­stand­ing of cell migra­tion with a special focus on the inter­play of Wnt-Signal­ing and cell adhesion. Her team made impor­tant contri­bu­tions to the eluci­da­tion of the mode of action of the canon­i­cal Wnt-Signal­ing pathway, whose activa­tion by gene mutation is now consid­ered a reliable indica­tor of colorec­tal cancer.

At the same time, Doris Wedlich was involved in science manage­ment, especially in research data manage­ment. She was a member of the Council of the Research Data Alliance, a globally active organi­za­tion for the protec­tion and free use of scien­tific data, and from 2012 to 2018 a member of the German Science Council, where she was partic­u­larly active in the Council for Infor­ma­tion Infra­struc­tures (RFII). Her commit­ment has contributed to the estab­lish­ment of the National Research Data Infra­struc­ture (NFDI).

For her research, Doris Wedlich was awarded, among others, the Merckle Research Prize in 1994 and the Research Prize of the State of Baden-Württem­berg in 2002. In 2008, she was among the first recip­i­ents of the Hector Science Prize, and from 2013 to 2015 she was the first Presi­dent of the Hector Fellow Academy. With her, HFA loses a valuable member who played a major role in the estab­lish­ment and success of the Academy. Her always-balanced criti­cal advice was much appre­ci­ated and will be missed.