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Most innovative young researcher: Award goes to IMC student

Great recognition for an innovative research approach

"Medical and Pharmaceutical Biotechnology" student Florian Richter, BSc, received the "YOUNG PHARMA AWARD 2019" on November 27, 2019 at pharmaKON from a jury of experts and by an audience vote.

Florian Richter und seine Betreuerin Dr. Doris Ripper freuen sich über den Award. © INTERFOTO © imh

Florian Richter and his supervisor Dr. Doris Ripper are delighted about the award. © INTERFOTO © imh

The author of the study "3D Bioprinting of Vascularized Cardiac Spheroids: A Novel Approach to Study Heart Angiogenesis?" was named the most innovative young researcher in the pharmaceutical industry.

Novel approaches and high relevance in practice

Just in time for the start of the semester, a top-class jury from the pharmaceutical industry was looking for sustainable and innovative research projects with added value for patients and a focus on practical feasibility.

Students from the pharmaceutical field were able to submit their thesis and explain why their project best meets the evaluation criteria for the YOUNG PHARMA AWARD. The innovation factor of the project was particularly important: For example, the final papers addressed areas such as new analytical technologies or new applications of active substances.

Young Pharma Award 2019

The three most promising submissions had the opportunity to present the project to the specialist audience of pharmaKON - the annual industry meeting of the Austrian pharmaceutical industry and health care industry. They then faced a live voting during the event. The YOUNG PHARMA AWARD, which comes with € 1.500,- prize money, went to the project "3D Bioprinting of Vascularized Cardiac Spheroids" by IMC student Florian Richter.

"I am very grateful for having the opportunity to present my project to so many representatives of the pharmaceutical and healthcare industries. Through the event, many representatives of companies - and therefore also potential employers - have become aware of me as a researcher and the IMC Krems as an educational institution. I hope that I was able to lay the foundation for possible cooperations," said Florian Richter, who was enthusiastic about the format of the award ceremony and added: "For participants with an economic background, it was certainly very interesting to see where research is currently in progress and to see that there is great research done by young Austrian researchers at home and abroad.

Internship at renowned university in Australia

Florian Richter has been studying Medical and Pharmaceutical Biotechnology at IMC Krems since September 2016. He completed his research internship at The University of Sydney in a laboratory that uses in-lab models of the human heart to research cardiomyopathy and its therapeutic approaches.

This research prompted Florian Richter to come up with the idea of using these models, which are made directly from cells donated by patients, as "building blocks" for personalised heart tissue.

Heart tissue made from the "3D printer"

In his final thesis, Florian Richter therefore focused on combining these building blocks from removed cells using 3D bioprinting - a type of 3D printing using exclusively biocompatible materials. He was able to create personalised, three-dimensional heart tissue in the laboratory, which hopefully will offer a new therapeutic approach to patients who need a new heart in the future.

Even if the research work will take some time until the heart tissue from the "3D printer" is ready for use, the top-class jury at the YOUNG PHARMA AWARD was convinced by Florian Richter's innovative approach.

"I congratulate Florian Richter very warmly on his award. A research internship in an internationally renowned laboratory is an excellent opportunity for our students, both for personal and professional development, and for building an international network. These two factors are essential criteria for later success in research and in the industry," emphasises Dr. Doris Ripper, supervisor of the final thesis at IMC Krems, the importance of the research internships anchored in the curricula.

Staying in Krems for the master degree

After completing his bachelor degree programme in Medical and Pharmaceutical Biotechnology, Florian Richter has already decided to continue his studies with the master degree programme at IMC FH Krems.

He is still in contact with his former research group in Australia and is eagerly awaiting the results of the clinical trials, which are expected to start in the near future.

About the Young Pharma Award

The prize was awarded at pharmaKON by imh, an Austrian conference and seminar provider for professional training. The finalists had the opportunity to present their research projects directly to the industry. Thus a bridge was created between the students and the Austrian pharmaceutical industry.