The Alexander von Humboldt professorship is one of Germany's most coveted research endowments. This year's laureate is French microbiologist Emmanuelle Charpentier, a specialist in infectious diseases.
She's currently in Braunschweig, working on innovative strategies for fighting infections - an ever greater challenge given the growing resistance of pathogens to antibiotics over recent decades. Charpentier and another researcher had already discovered exactly how bacterial immune systems work, and pointed the way to using this discovery as an efficient means of fighting disease - in e.g. the use of gene therapies. Her current research is building on this discovery.