EMBL Hamburg Group Leader Dmitri Svergun and collaborator Lev Feigin from the Institute of Crystallography, Russian Academy of Sciences, at the Rusnanotech Award Ceremony in Moscow

On the 3rd of November EMBL Hamburg group leader Dmitri Svergun was awarded the Nanotechnology International Prize RUSNANOPRIZE 2010 in a ceremony held as part of the 3rd International Forum on Nanotechnology in Moscow.

Svergun, together with his colleague and former scientific supervisor Lev Feigin from the Institute of Crystallography, Russian Academy of Sciences (ICRAS), received the prestigious award for their work in the field of Small Angle X-ray Scattering (SAXS), and especially their exploitation of the method for nanostructure determination.

The main principles and progress in SAXS were summarised in 1987 in Feigin and Svergun’s monograph “Structure Analysis by Small Angle X-ray and Neutron Scattering” published by Nauka Publishing House (Russia) and Plenum Press (USA). Since then the potential of this method has been demonstrated on numerous occasions, most notably, on structure determination of several important biological complexes. Developments in hardware and software have also followed allowing reliable determination of the experimental data and their advanced interpretation. Importantly, the novel analysis methods, developed at the EMBL-Hamburg and IC RAS initially for biomacromolecular solutions, have become effectively applicable to non-biological objects.

The RUSNANOPRIZE was established in 2009 and is granted annually to prominent scientists and companies, both from Russia and elsewhere upon the decision of the Prize Committee and the International Advisory Board consisting of international businessmen and leading scientists. The prize is granted not only for science and technology research and inventions in nanotechnology, but also for the introduction of the technology into large-scale production. The Austrian company Hecus X-ray systems also received the 2010 award for manufacturing the laboratory SAXS instruments that are used in numerous centres around the world. In his speech at the RUSNANOPRIZE 2010 plenary session, Russian Federation President Dmitry Medvedev said “our goal is to establish in Russia not only a number of large-scale enterprises but also a fully-developed community of the nanotechnology sector encompassing all business areas, private as well as state-owned businesses up to transnational companies". The 2010 award demonstrates that SAXS will be a major nanodiagnostic tool for these future developments encompassing material science, biology and medicine.

On hearing the news, Head of EMBL Hamburg, Matthias Wilmanns, said “this is a great recognition of Dmitri’s work, and we are very pleased to hear that he has been presented with such a prestigious award”.

Rusnanotech 2010