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Denise P. Barlow Award

Watercolour portrait of Denise P. Barlow (1950-2017)
by artist Lisl Spurny-Schwarzmüller
© CeMM/Klaus Pichler

In Memory of Denise P. Barlow

On October 21, 2023, we commemorated the sixth anniversary of Denise P. Barlow’s passing. She was a formidable researcher who inspired the molecular biology community in Austria and beyond. In Vienna, Denise was associated with four institutions: IMP, where she was a group leader, Max Perutz Labs, where she was a professor, IMBA, which provided her with laboratory space for some time, and CeMM, where she was a principal investigator for ten years.

The Award

These four institutions launched a yearly academic talent award in Denise’s name. The purpose is to recognize merit and manifest appreciation of exceptionally interesting PhD theses carried out in one of the four institutions. Specifically, the Denise P. Barlow Award intends to promote the academic career of young scientists, strategically addressing the transition of graduated PhD students to postdocs, by offering a small financial help that will alleviate the costs associated with relocation or career development (move, transport, child care, furniture, training etc.). The Denise P. Barlow Award amounts to € 5,000 and will be given once a year. The topic of the thesis can vary and cover basic cell biological, biochemical, molecular biological, structural and computational work, with an emphasis on insight on new biological mechanisms, something Denise P. Barlow was fond of. Calls and Awardees are featured on the award website. Together with the money prize there will be a certificate featuring the name of the awardee, the prize, and Denise P. Barlow’s portrait.

The Committee

The Committee consists of seven people, the four scientific directors of the institutes and three additional experts covering as much scientific ground as possible.

The Procedure

Candidates must have performed their PhD in one of the four institutes, and have submitted their thesis. Each institute can propose up to 2 candidates per call. How the institutes decide who are the candidates is left to the decision of each institute. The proposal should consist of 1) a presentation letter/form by the principal investigator of the student, 2) a CV, 3) the thesis, and 4) up to two papers/manuscripts (unless part of the thesis).

What is Evaluated

The committee considers the entire performance and output of the candidates over the whole PhD period. Emphasis will be given on the depth of the insights gained and the originality of the contributions. In line with Denise P. Barlow’s scientific interests, the thesis should have provided insights into a biological mechanism, in a broad sense.


Deadline for nominations: March 31, 2024.
For any IMP, Max Perutz Labs, IMBA, and CeMM PhD student who has submitted her/his PhD thesis between January 1 and December 31, 2023.