Science

Pakistan-born scientist Asifa Akhtar wins Germany’s prestigious Leibniz Prize

Asifa Akhtar

Pakistan-born molecular biologist Dr. Asifa Akhtar has been chosen as one of the recipients of the Leibniz Prize, Germany’s most esteemed research award. She is among 10 scientists who have been selected for this important prize for 2021. The award includes €2.5 million in prize money.

Dr. Akhtar has been chosen for her groundbreaking cell-biological work on the mechanisms of epigenetic gene regulation. Germany’s Max Planc society, a fundamental research and science organization, where Akhtar is also serving as the first international female Vice President, shared the exciting news on their social media.

“Very excited that two Max Planc Press scientists are among the 2021 Leibniz Preis recipients: our Vice President Asifa Akhtar, MPI of Immunobiology & Epigenetics and Volker Springel, MPI for Astrophysics. Congratulations!” they posted.

The Max Planck Society is Germany’s most successful research organization. It was established in 1948 and has since had 18 Nobel laureates emerge from the ranks of its scientists. It is on par with the best and most prestigious research institutions worldwide.

German Consulate General in Karachi also congratulated her on her success, “Congratulations, Dr. Asifa! You make both Pakistan and Germany extremely proud with your outstanding contributions to science!”

Born in Karachi, Asifa Akhtar obtained her doctorate at the Imperial Cancer Research Fund in London, UK, in 1997 before moving to Germany where she was a Postdoctoral fellow at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg and the Adolf-Butenandt-Institute in Munich from 1998 to 2001.

She is not the only Pakistani to have made the country proud this year. Ali Zaidi, a Pakistani born 33-year-old will be serving as a climate policy advisor to Biden’s administration. Also, the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering (ATSE) recognized Pakistani computer scientist, Shazia Sadiq, for her innovative STEM research.

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