Cathrin Brisken wins Claudia Schilling Prize

Cathrin Brisken. Credit: EPFL

Cathrin Brisken. Credit: EPFL

Professor Cathrin Brisken at EPFL’s School of Life Sciences has been awarded the 2023 Claudia von Schilling Prize, recognizing her work in breast cancer research.

The annual Claudia von Schilling Prize, managed by the titular Foundation, is a prestigious accolade recognizing exceptional contributions to breast cancer research and therapy. While primarily aimed at scientists in German-speaking countries, it’s open to all. The Prize includes a sum of €10,000, which can be shared among multiple awardees.Top of Form

This year, the Prize has been awarded to Professor Cathrin Brisken, recognizing her significant contributions to breast cancer research. Catalytic to her winning the Prize was her seminal 2022 paper“Estrogen receptor positive breast cancers have patient specific hormone sensitivities and rely on progesterone receptor”, published in Nature Communications [read the EPFL press release].

The accompanying commendation from the Claudia von Schilling Foundation highlights that, in addition to her scientific accomplishments, Brisken is also a true world citizen who has trained and worked in many countries, speaks multiple languages, and has raised three children.

“I was very honored because the Prize emphasizes the translational value of our work,” says Brisken. “It has important implications for the future of breast cancer prevention and treatment.”

Brisken’s research focuses on the cellular and molecular underpinnings of estrogen and progesterone receptor signaling in the breast and the respective roles of these hormones and hormonally active compounds in carcinogenesis. The aim is to understand how recurrent exposures to endogenous and exogenous hormones contribute to breast carcinogenesis in order to better prevent and treat the disease.

Her group has pioneered in vivo approaches for genetically dissecting the role of the reproductive hormones in driving mouse mammary gland development, and has shown how they control intercellular communication. They have also developed ex vivo and humanized mouse models using patient samples to study hormone action in human tissues in normal settings and during disease progression.