Prof. Dr. Heiner Niemann receives IETS Pioneer Award 2017
On 17 January 2017, Prof. Dr. Heiner Niemann was honored with the IETS Pioneer Award in the frame of this year’s 43rd Conference of the International Embryo Technology Society (IETS) in Austin, Texas, USA. Prof. Niemann is head of the Institute of Farm Animal Genetics in Mariensee, extraordinary Professor at the University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover, and honorary Professor at the Hannover Medical School. The Pioneer Award is the highest honor of the IETS and is awarded to honor individuals who have contributed considerably and innovatively to the development of embryo-based technologies in farm animals. The successful application of somatic cloning in his laboratory led to the birth of the first cloned calf “Blondie” in 2000, and of the first cloned piglets in Germany named "Björna" and "Michaela" in 2003. Heiner Niemann is also a pioneer of somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) for the production of transgenic pigs whose organs might be suitable for use in xenotransplantation. The first transgenic piglets in this project generated by microinjection were already born in Mariensee in 1997. Recently, knockout mice were generated by cytoplasmatic microinjection of CRISPR/Cas9 (Gene Editing) in cygotes. His work is characterized by the combination of new discoveries in molecular genetics and novel reproduction technologies which enables the production of genetically modified animals for basic research and the development of novel biomedical applications such as gene pharming and xenotransplantation. Details were published by the IETS in the journal Reproduction, Fertility and Development (DOI: 10.1071/RDv29n1_PA).