The Hector Fellow Academy honors outstanding young scientists on their way to a professorship
The three new winners of the Hector Research Career Development Award have been announced: psychologist Sebastian Frank, biologist Erik T. Frank and engineer Jingyuan Xu will receive the award, with which the Hector Fellow Academy (HFA) is supporting the research careers of promising scientists in the post-doctoral phase for the fourth time. On January 28, 2024, the jury published the names of the winners in Heidelberg.
“The prize is a great honor for me and motivation to continue pursuing my research on learning and neuroplasticity in children,” explains award winner Sebastian Frank. He is an Emmy Noether research group leader at the Institute of Psychology at the University of Regensburg. His research focuses on gaining a better understanding of the biological mechanisms underlying human learning and neuroplasticity. He is particularly interested in the question of how these mechanisms change across the lifespan.
Award winner Erik T. Frank, biologist and Emmy Noether research group leader at the University of Würzburg, is working on a completely different research topic. He is an expert in behavioral ecology and evolution and researches how animals treat their injuries. To this end, he studies a wide range of animals, from ants that apply antimicrobials to their wounds to fight infections to chimpanzees that apply crushed flies to open wounds. Erik T. Frank is honored and grateful to receive the Hector Research Career Development Award: “This award will allow my group to further explore the evolution of social wound care behaviors in animals by letting us study how ants that live in a mutualistic relationship with acacia trees heal the wounds of their host plant when its injured.”
Hector RCD Awardee Jingyuan Xu is the head of CZS Nexus research group on “zero-emission and eco-friendly heating and cooling technologies at the Institute of Microstructure Technology at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT). Her research interests lie in the field of sustainable energy technologies for cooling, heating or power generation using renewable energies such as solar energy or waste heat. With the aim of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and mitigating the effects of climate change for the future, the young engineer is driving forward the development of high-performance, CO₂-neutral elastocaloric cooling devices.
The Hector RCD Award is aimed at particularly talented young researchers from the natural and engineering sciences, medicine or psychology who have already sharpened their scientific profile and taken their first career step. With the awarding of the new awardees, forteen Hector RCD Awardees are currently members of the Hector Fellow Academy.