24-year-old Laura Hinze receives a grant endowed with almost three quarters of a million euros from German Cancer Aid
As one of the youngest female doctors ever, Dr. Laura Hinze has been honoured by the German Cancer Aid in the Max Eder Junior Research Group Programme. The 24-year-old doctor and researcher from Hanover Medical School (MHH) will receive funding of more than 743,000 euros spread over four years to expand her own research group and continue her scientific career. "This is an outstanding success for the promotion of young scientists at MHH," says MHH President Michael Manns. "Laura Hinze is an exceptional talent. Actually, she was still too young to take part in the funding programme. Fortunately, German Cancer Aid granted an exemption."
"I aim to understand why leukaemia cells and other cancer cells do not respond to therapies, and to this end I am investigating the amino acid and protein degradation of cancer cells at the molecular level with my research group," explains Dr Laura Hinze, who works in the MHH Department of Paediatric Haematology and Oncology. "With the funding from German Cancer Aid, I hope that we can now work on more projects at the same time and make much faster progress."
" Much faster" - Laura Hinze has always been that: In 2013, at the age of 16, she passed her A-levels and immediately began studying medicine at the MHH. Two years later, she completed her preliminary medical examination and began her doctoral thesis in 2015. In 2017, she went to Boston to do research in the USA. After her return, she finished her studies and built up her own research group at the same time - numerous scientific publications and prizes followed. She has been a doctor since December 2020 and has been working as a doctor and scientist in Professor Dr Christian Kratz’s paediatric oncology clinic since 1 January 2021.
Now she receives the award from the German Cancer Aid, which allows for an even larger working group. Any ordinary person would be fully occupied with that, not so Laura Hinze. "I get bored extremely quickly, so I’m always looking for a challenge." And that currently requires her to study economics in parallel. As a 24-year-old, she is the head of employees in her work group who are significantly older. "I feel much older than I am," she says and laughs. "But I also had to learn first that I cannot project my own pace onto other people."
Clinic, research and teaching represent a logical triad for Laura Hinze. Yet at the beginning of her studies, she definitely did not want to go into science. "Today I know that patient-oriented research is very lively and that the clinic alone would not be fulfilling for me." Laura Hinze wants her research to make an important contribution towards personalised medicine. "Developing biomarkers that enable more specific treatment of individual patients would be one such goal."
She sees another one more in the field of science policy: "Clinics and research have to be better compatible, that’s the only way we can counteract the lack of young talent in research-based medicine. Simply create better structures!"