Boppard / Munich. The Heinz Maurer Award for outstanding research in the field of dermatology was presented for the ninth time in Munich on July 24th, 2012. The jury, headed by Professor Gehring, Medical Director at the Dermatological Clinic of the Municipal Hospital in Karlsruhe, commended two excellent dermatological studies. The winners of the award,  which is worth a total of € 20,000  are Dr. Andrea Vierkötter, who studied the effects of fine airborne dust particles on premature skin aging, and secondly, Dr. Stephan Schreml and Assistant Professor Dr. Philipp Babilas, who developed a non-invasive method, which allows for the visualization of the skin’s pH in vivo.

Basic Research Prize:
Development of a method to visualize the pH value
Dr. med. Stephan Schreml and Assistant Prof. Dr. Philipp Babilas –
Dr. Stephan Schreml, resident physician at the Department of Dermatology of the University Medical Center Regensburg together with Assistant Professor. Dr. Philipp Babilas, senior physician and team leader at the University Hospital in Regensburg, developed a worldwide unique imaging method, which allows for a two-dimensional continuous representation of the pH value on human tissue in vivo. For this purpose, they developed a sensor, which was characterized under in vitro conditions and tested for its biocompatibility. In addition, it was applied and validated in humans in vivo. The new method was successfully applied to monitor acute and chronic wound healing and to study the epidermal barrier in humans. At present, studies are being run on the complex processes of chronic wound healing.

The new method utilizes the difference in pH sensitivity of the fluorescence properties of two fluorescent dyes, which are bound to micro-particles and dispersed in a biocompatible matrix on flexible foils. Both dyes are excited by a light-emitting diode and subsequently emit light, whereby only the signal of the indicator dye depends on the pH value, whereas the signal of the reference dye remains constant. Finally, the ratio of the light-intensity images of both dyes recorded at different times, provide reliable information that is needed for a two-dimensional high-resolution representation of the pH value.

This new method now allows to study and explore of pH changes, as well as, enables studies in the field of dermopharmaceutical drugs, tumor metabolism, tissue transplantation, and other biomedical fields.

Applied Clinical Research Prize:
Closing in on premature skin aging
Dr. Andrea Vierkötter:
Dr. Andrea Vierkötter, post-doctoral scientific research co-worker at the IUF – Leibniz Institute for Environmental Medicine in Düsseldorf, examined in the scope of her research activities the effects of airborne pollutants on extrinsic skin aging. Four hundred women aged between 70 and 80 years were examined in the epidemiological study. The test subjects came from cities of the formerly heavily polluted Ruhr district and from a less polluted reference area. It showed that there is a strong correlation between the concentration of airborne particles and the appearance of pigment spots on foreheads and cheeks, as well as a more pronounced nasolabial folds. This new information is of great value in the prevention of pigment spots, as it was revealed that — apart from exposure to sunlight or smoking —  exposure to airborne pollutants also bears a considerable influence on environmentally induced skin aging. It has now become imaginable that a topic application of AhR antagonists (inhibitors of the aryl hydrocarbon receptor which, among other factors, are involved in environmental hyperpigmentation) added to cosmetic products could suppress the future occurrence of skin aging induced by suspended dust particles.

Heinz Maurer Awards Promotes Dermatological Research
The Heinz Maurer Award is presented by Sebapharma to outstanding dermatological researchers every two years. With this research award, Dr. med. Heinz Maurer, who is founder and owner of Sebapharma GmbH & Co. KG, now retired, continues to support outstanding dermatological research achievements and contribute to its steady progress through the operative management Mr. Thomas Maurer and  Dr. Rüdiger Mittendorff, who are both Chairmen of the Board of Directors.

With this,  the inventor of skin cleansing and skin care products, which are adjusted to the pH value of 5.5  –  the exact pH of the physiological acid mantle – underscores the company’s principle “Science for healthy skin”.

“We are glad that the Heinz Maurer Award has become so well established in the field of dermatological research. The quality of the submitted publications emphasizes the high scientific recognition of this sponsored award“, said Dr. Rüdiger Mittendorff explaining the high standards of the company.

The conferral of the Heinz Maurer Award for Dermatological Research is decided upon by a jury consisting of the eight members of the Sebapharma Scientific Advisory Board under the honorary auspices of Professor Dr. med. Otto Braun-Falko.

f.l.t.r.: Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Gehring, Chairman of the jury for the Heinz Maurer Award, PD Dr. Philipp Babilas, winner in the category basic research, Dr. Andrea Vierkötter, winner clinical research, Dr. Stephan Schreml, winner in the category basic research, Dr. Rüdiger Mittendorff, Chief Executive Officer of Sebapharma GmbH & Co. KG

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