Basic medical research award of the GlaxoSmithKline Foundation for Dr. Konstantin Sparrer

For his studies on how viral pathogens evade immune control, Dr. Konstantin Sparrer received the prestigious 2021 Science Award for Basic Medical Research from the GlaxoSmithKline Foundation. The prize, which is endowed with 10,000 €, was awarded in Munich on July 13th, 2022. Dr. Sparrer was recognized for his work on innate immune evasion of SARS-CoV-2, in particular his study on the non-structural protein 1 (Nsp1) of SARS-CoV-2. Together with the group of Roland Beckmann (Munich) he demonstrated that Nsp1 suppresses human protein synthesis thus weakening the innate immune response (Thoms et al., Science 2020; Sparrer and Kirchhoff, Biospektrum, 2021). The long-term goal of Dr Sparrer’s research is to understand the interplay between pandemic viral pathogens and the innate immune to eventually identify vulnerabilities of the viruses to develop novel therapeutic and preventive approaches.

Thoms M, Buschauer R, Ameismeier M, Koepke L, Denk T, Hirschenberger M, Kratzat H, Hayn M, Mackens-Kiani T, Cheng J, Straub JH, Stürzel CM, Fröhlich T, Berninghausen O, Becker T, Kirchhoff F, Sparrer KMJ, Beckmann R. (2020). Structural basis for translational shutdown and immune evasion by the Nsp1 protein of SARS-CoV-2. Science 369(6508):1249-1255.

Sparrer KMJ, Kirchhoff F. (2021). SARS-CoV-2 Nsp1: Ein kleines Protein blockiert die Immunantwort BIOspektrum 27 (4), 368-371.