Prof. honored for work with anthrax, bacterial diseases

Professor Cesare Montecucco, a chemist and biologist from the Department of Biomedical Research at Italy’s University of Padua, will be awarded the 100,000 euro Paul Ehrlich and Ludwig Darmstaedter Prize for his work with bacterial diseases.

The Paul Ehrlich and Ludwig Darmstaedter Prize is considered one of the most prestigious international awards granted by the Federal Republic of Germany. It is bestowed annually in Frankfurt am Main by the Scientific Board of the Paul Ehrlich Foundation on March 14, Paul Ehrlich’s birthday.

Montecucco will be the recipient of the honor because of his research dealing with various bacterial diseases, including anthrax, tetanus, botulism and those associated with Heliobacter pylori. His most significant contributions to the field have come from his work regarding the mechanism of action of the neurotoxins that cause botulism and tetanus, particularly those that cause the muscular rigidity commonly called lockjaw.

Montecucco was born in 1947 in Trento, Italy, and studied chemistry and biology at the University of Padua, where he is the current deputy director of the Scuola Galileiana and a professor of pathology. He has also conducted research around the world, including at Cambridge University in the United Kingdom, the Pasteur Institute in Paris, France, the University of Costa Rica and the European Molecular Biology Laboratory in Heidelberg, Germany.