The prize-winning thesis addressed a controversial topic: developing technologies that help drastically reduce the need for animal testing. Katrin Brandmair, who is a graduate of IMC Krems’ Medical and Pharmaceutical Biotechnology master programme, accepted her honorary prize from the Federal Ministry of Science, Research and Economy on 12 November 2018. Her thesis titled “The development of an organ-on-a-chip model combining lung and liver” explored a hot topic in drug research. Organ-on-a-chip technology combines different cell culture models – in this case lung and liver – which are connected via microfluidic systems designed to replicate a circulatory system and mounted on special carrier units. The technology helps researchers gain insights into the metabolism of active ingredients, which could otherwise only be achieved by means of animal testing. It is hoped that the technology, which is still in its infancy, will continue to be improved and eventually significantly reduce the need for animal testing for this type of research.
About the honorary prize
The Federal Ministry of Science, Research and Economy has awarded its honorary prize to the authors of the previous year’s 50 best diploma or master degree theses since 1990. The nominees are put forward by the universities or the Austrian Association of Universities of Applied Sciences. Funded by the student support scheme, the prize has been awarded since 1990. Each year, the 50 best diploma or master theses written by students at Austrian universities and universities of applied sciences are selected (from a total of 16,000 per year), with the winners receiving EUR 3,000. The awards ceremony takes place each year in December.