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Ulrich Braunschweig (L) and Muhammad Rizwan

Ulrich Braunschweig and Muhammad Rizwan win Research Excellence Awards

October 15, 2021

Ulrich Braunschweig and Muhammad Rizwan have received 2021 Research Excellence Awards from the University of Toronto’s Donnelly Centre for Cellular and Biomolecular Research for their contributions to the fields of gene regulation and tissue engineering.

The annual awards recognize postdoctoral researchers working at the intersection of scientific disciplines in the Donnelly Centre to shed light on the molecular processes behind disease and to devise new treatments.

Ulrich Braunschweig, a research associate in Professor Ben Blencowe’s lab, is being recognized for developing a novel DNA-sequencing-based technology, Spar-Seq, to study gene regulation in cells. This allowed him to discover novel regulators of alternative splicing, a process used by the cells to diversify protein species, which has been implicated in neurological disorders such as autism.

Muhammad Rizwan, a research associate in University Professor Molly Shoichet’s group, received the award for engineering a biomaterial that can support growth of stem cell-derived liver bile ducts in a dish. His work holds potential for deriving lab-grown transplant tissue to offset the global shortage of donor livers for patients with bile duct diseases.

“I would like to offer my warmest congratulations to Ulrich and Muhammad,” says Charles Boone, a professor of molecular genetics and a former interim director of the Centre, who helped select the prize winners. “They developed novel technologies in their respective fields which allowed them to ask questions and gain insights that were not possible before. I can hardly wait to see what they will achieve next!"

Read the Donnelly Centre story