Winners Announced

QIAGEN is excited to announce the winners of its first Young Investigator Award competition! 

We had a huge number of strong applicants with exciting and innovative project proposals, and our distinguished judges had their work cut out to identify the top three.

We are very pleased to announce that Margreet van den Berge from the Netherlands Forensic Institute, The Hague is the winner of this year's award. Runners-up are Zachary Goecker from Environmental Toxicology, University of California, Davis and Sofia Antao Sousa from the Institute of Molecular Pathology and Immunology of the University of Porto, Porto.

The winner and two runners-up were recognized during the 2019 ISFG Congress, Prague on Thursday, September 12, at a special award ceremony.

Margreet van den Berge, Zachary Goecker, Sofia Antao Sousa (from left to right)
Dr. van den Berge’s ongoing postdoctoral research at the NFI aims to build upon her Ph.D. work, which applied mRNA profiling for forensic identification of body fluids and organ types and demonstrated the value of mRNA profiling with aged and degraded specimens. Currently, she is expanding the functionalities of the RNA assays by developing a probabilistic interpretation model and establishing an association of donor and cell type by SNPs in the RNA amplicons, among other applications.

Mr. Goecker’s Ph.D. project involves the role of genetic variation in human hair shaft protein as a forensic tool and optimizing the chemical processing of hair for proteomic analysis. He is also exploring ancestral classification and targeted proteomic methods, and the analysis of single amino-acid polymorphisms.

Ms. Antão Sousa’s Ph.D. project is in forensic genetics. She has worked on estimating Y-chromosome short tandem repeat (Y-STR) mutation rates and elucidating mutational mechanisms. She is also involved in other projects, involving the use of massively parallel sequencing and the estimation of wound age.