On October 8, 2009, BMS Alumnus and Junior Faculty member Tim Conrad was awarded the Klaus Tschira Prize for the comprehensible presentation of his dissertation "Bloody Fingerprints from the Playstation". The prize is awarded annually in the categories biology, chemistry, computer science, mathematics, neuroscience and physics. Anyone who completed their dissertation in the year before is eligible to apply.
Conrad, leader of a Biocomputing research group at FU Berlin, received the prize worth 5,000 € in the mathematics category. On only three pages he described in laymen's terms what his dissertation is about. The jury chose him because it was "an easily comprehensible and compellingly written article about research in an area where medicine, computer science and mathematics meet". Readers immediately understand how mathematics is used to solve real-world problems.
In his dissertation, Conrad had developed a method to use a drop of blood to determine the state of health of the donor, e.g. if they are suffering from certain types of cancer. Conrad's hypthesis is that almost every illness changes the concentration of certain types of molecules in the blood and hence leaves an unique pattern - its fingerprint.Up to today Conrad was able to recognize fingerprints for five different types of cancer. "Two were successful in the fist pre-clinical trials and had a much higher recognition rate than other methods," says Conrad. Based on his dissertation they developed an internet-based software, which is used in "Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin" and in the University Hospital Leipzig.
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The award-winning three pages (in German) can be downloaded from here: