GFZ German research centre for geo sciences

GFZ Friends honours Ebuka Canisius Nwosu with the Friedrich Robert Helmert Prize 2022/2023

Ebuka Canisius Nwosu was awarded the Friedrich Robert Helmert Prize of the GFZ Friends for the best doctoral thesis of the year 2022/23 for his doctorate in Section 3.7 “Geomicrobiology”.

Ebuka Canisius Nwosu, who very successfully completed his PhD in Section 3.7 “Geomicrobiology” in October 2022, was awarded the Friedrich Robert Helmert Prize for the best PhD thesis of the year 2022/23. The prize is awarded annually by the GFZ Friends, the association of friends and supporters of the GFZ, and comes with prize money of 1,500 euros.

The award-winning doctoral thesis

Ebuka Canisius Nwosu receives the prize for his doctoral thesis on “Sedimentary DNA-based reconstruction of cyanobacteria communities from Lake Tiefer See, NE Germany, for the last 11,000 years”. In his dissertation, Nwosu uses genomic information from very old lake sediments to reconstruct for the first time the dynamics of cyanobacteria in a lake in North-Eastern Germany (“Tiefer See”) for the entire Holocene period. The Tiefer See represents an established climate and environmental archive for the Holocene with a high-resolution age model for the last ~6,000 years. The work was carried out within the framework of the Tereno Northeast German Lowland Observatory.

From the laudation

“With Mr. Nwosu, the GFZ Friends honour an exceptionally talented and ambitious young scientist who has shown the courage and ability to build bridges between the most diverse disciplines – e.g. to archaeology – in order to break new scientific ground in the most creative way”, said the Executive Director of the GFZ Friends Ludwig Stroink at the award ceremony, which took place as part of the GFZ Summer Market.

Ebuka Nwosu completed his doctorate at the University of Potsdam and at the GFZ in Section 3.7 “Geomicrobiology” under the supervision of Prof. Susanne Liebner in only 3.5 years with “Summa Cum Laude”. In this short time, he has published his results in four international journals. In addition to the top-class quality of the work, it is also worth mentioning that he himself applied for his scholarship at the Deutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt DBU (German Federal Foundation for the Environment) and acted as spokesperson for his DBU class during the entire time. He also completed an 18-month “Junior Teaching Programme” as part of the Potsdam Graduate School.

From his curriculum vitae

Nwosu completed his Bachelor's degree in Microbiology at Obafemi Awolowo University Ile-Ife, Nigeria, and from 2016 to 2018 he completed a Master's degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of Potsdam. His master's thesis was already written at the GFZ. Ebuka Nwosu now works for the company Thermo Fisher.

About the Friedrich Robert Helmert Prize

Doctoral students contribute significantly to the success of the GFZ with their scientific achievements. Every year, the Friedrich Robert Helmert Prize is awarded to young scientists whose outstanding dissertations have contributed significantly to a better understanding of the Earth system. In addition to the prize money of 1500 euros, the award winners receive a certificate and a one-year honorary membership in the GFZ Friends, the Association of Friends and Supporters of the GFZ. The prize money is not earmarked for a specific purpose.

Further information on the prize and the call for entries can be found here:

Scientific Contact

Group Leader
Prof. Dr. Susanne Liebner

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