New Developments in Cancer Research: Mai-Thi Nguyen-Kim Wins the Falling Walls Lab in Cologne

The first, second, and third place winners of the Falling Walls lab © Falling Walls/ATKearney

Jury winner, and thus the winner of Falling Walls Lab 2012 in Cologne, is Mai-Thi Nguyen-Kim from RWTH Aachen. She conducts research in the field of nanomedicine in the treatment of cancer.  In her three minute presentation, she detailed how tiny nano transports can break through cell walls, in order to channel medicine to the inside of the cell. Her new approach entails building together a medicine transport in such a way, so that cancer cells are attacked without healthy cells being damaged.


Given the increasing number of new cancer cases, the further development of existing cancer treatments and the creation of new treatment possibilities are an important challenge of our time. "Mai-Thi Nguyen-Kim presented her research with great passion and in a very understandable way, thus convincing the jury", said Dr. Peter Pfeiffer, partner at A.T. Kearney Düsseldorf and member of the jury.

Second Place Awarded to RWTH Aachen Students Also

Second place was awarded to Matthias Leiendecker, also of RWTH Aachen. He explained that about 80 percent of all deadly brain tumors can be attributed to the mutation of a particular ensyme.  Leiendecker developed an innovative molecule with his research group, which selectively oppresses this oncogenic enzyme. The jury awarded third place to Dr. Alexander Mathys from the German Institute of Food Technologies. He showed how high pressure treatment can keep fresh food good even at room temperature without negative effects on valuable ingredients, such as flavors or vitamins.


2012 Winners of the Falling Walls Lab

  1. 1st Place: Mai-Thi Nguyen-Kim, Germany, RWTH Aachen with her presentation "Breaking the Wall of the Human Cell“
  2. 2nd Place: Matthias Leiendecker, Germany, RWTH Aachen, with his presentation "Breaking the Wall of Personalized Cancer Therapy“
  3. 3rd Place: Dr. Alexander Mathys, Germany, German Institute of Food Technology, with his presentation "Breaking the Wall of Fresh Safe Food“

Finale in Berlin

WIth the help of a scholarship, participants selected by the jury will travel to the finale in Berlin on November 8, 2012, and will receive a ticket for the Falling Walls Conference on November 9, 2012. Winners of the finale in Berlin will be able to give their presentation again at the Falling Walls Conference in front of 700 international guests.

Idea of the Falling Walls Lab

The Falling Walls Labs were initiated by the Falling Walls Foundation and A.T. Kearney, in order to give your resesearchers and professionals the chance to present their innovative and sustainable solutions for pressing, social challenges and to network with colleagues in various subject fields. The idea to establish the Falling Walls Lab as global forum, arose after a successful kickoff in November 2011 in Berlin. Students, doctoral candidates, young professionals, and young entreprenuers from all around the world could apply for the labs. The best breakthroughs for the future were sought out among the submitted ideas, which were then each presented in three minutes to a renowned jury composed of individuals from science and the economy. Falls Walls Labs took place in Zürich, Vienna, and Munich, in addition to Cologne.

Jury of the Falling Walls Lab Cologne

The winners of the Falling Walls Lab in Cologne were chosen by a top-class jury, which  included Dr. Heinrich Arnold, Head of Telekom Innovation Laboratories, Deutsche Telekom, Prof. Dr. Axel Freimuth, Rector of Cologne University, Prof. Dr. Jens Leker, Managing Director of the Institute for Business Administrative Management in Chemistry and Pharmacy from the University of Münster, Dr. Peter Pfeiffer, Partner at A.T. Kearney, Dr. Dorothea Rüland, General Secretary of the DAAD, and Dr. Julia Schuh, Managing Director of Manres AG.


External Links

  • Falling Walls

    High resolution photos from the Falling Walls Lab Cologne