As an EMBL/EBI PhD-graduate and following a Humboldt foundation funded postdoc project on biodiversity in New Zealand, Dr. Lara Urban established her first independent research lab in 2022, at the interface of the Helmholtz Pioneer Campus and Helmholtz_AI in Munich. Her research focuses on the application of novel genomic approaches and artificial intelligence (AI) tools for real-world applications toward planetary (or one) health problems. The award jury particularly emphasized her innovative and exciting research, its timeliness and outstanding global relevance. More concretely, published projects of Dr. Urban include the freshwater monitoring by nanopore sequencing and outstanding work in conservation genomics to protect New Zealand’s biodiversity . Consequently, her future ambitions continue to deploy in-situ genome sequencing coupled with AI-driven genomic data analytics for the monitoring of environmental pathogens and microbiomes in clinical settings, respective toward biodiversity – with potential to benefit our society’s pandemic preparedness and planetary health.
The Helmholtz Pioneer Campus is an innovation campus with a startup culture at the Helmholtz Zentrum München. HPC stands for the intelligent fusion of biomedical sciences, engineering and digitization. Teams of top scientific talents from all over the world work together on the development of novel solutions that make a difference in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of diseases. HPC aspires the values of Hermann von Helmholtz (1821-1894), a physician and physicist, polymath and science pioneer.