Hermann Esterbauer Award 2020

Hermann Esterbauer Award Winner 2020

Yimon Aye

“During these times, we are all experiencing a growing understanding and appreciation of the role that communities play in our lives. Whether it be local, in our daily lives, or in our case, as scientists, more globally, we appreciate how pulling together is important. I am thus thrilled and humbled to have been awarded the Hermann Esterbauer Memorial Award for 2020. This is because this award uniquely represents recognition from my own peers who have worked, like me, on the capricious molecule, 4-hydroxynonenal and other lipid-derived electrophiles (LDEs). Like most communities these days, we are diverse. However, we are all united by being aware of the fundamental roles that LDEs play in health and disease. In this way, all of us continue to carry the baton started by the late Professor Hermann Esterbauer, after whom this award is named. Sadly, I never met Prof. Esterbauer, but from what I have read of his varied approach and wonderfully collaborative spirit, he should continue to be an inspiration for us all. Afterall, if he had not had such a resounding positive impact on those around him, this award would never have come to pass. I thus hope that in the coming years we will see more collaboration among us as a community, and I look forward to meeting you in the beautiful city of Milan next year and forging some new scientific ties.”  Yimon Aye


Born and raised in Burma, Yimon Aye read chemistry at the University of Oxford (UK) (2000-04), and achieved her PhD degree in organic chemistry with Prof. David Evans at Harvard University (USA) (2004-09). She then switched research discipline and pursued her postdoctoral training in life sciences with Prof. JoAnne Stubbe. As a Damon Runyon cancer research fellow at MIT (USA) (2009-12), she established the mechanisms-of-action of therapeutics targeting the enzyme ribonucleotide reductase. In her independent career that began mid-2012, Yimon set out to understand the detailed mechanisms of electrophile signaling, such as those regulated by 4-hydroxynonenal and related lipid-derived electrophiles and electrophilic pharmaceuticals. This impetus culminated in the development of “REX” technologies (T-REX™ delivery and G-REX™ profiling). In a parallel research program, she studies pathways involved in genome maintenance and nucleotide signaling, including the mechanisms of anticancer drugs in clinical use. In Autumn 2018, she and her team members established the Laboratory of Electrophiles and Genome Operation (LEAGO) at EPFL https://leago.epfl.ch/