Heinz Billing Prize awarded to former MPIPZ post-doc
 

October 06, 2021

Adam Runions, a former post-doc in the Tsiantis group, has been awarded the prestigious Heinz Billing Prize by the Max Planck Society for his work on the Modelling and Analysis of Morphogenetic Processes in plants.  

 

Named after Prof Heinz Billing, former director of the MPI for Astrophysics, the Heinz Billing Prize is biannually awarded to outstanding scientific contributions in the field of computational sciences. The €5000 award recognises exceptional work from all fields of computational science. 

Amongst the accomplishment recognized by the award, Adam developed a novel computational method, enabling the modeling of vein pattern in leaves in a visually realistic way. This method significantly contributed to the understanding of plant morphogenesis.

A realistic rendering of leaf venation patterns created using the model proposed in Runions A, Fuhrer M, Lane B, Federl P, Rolland-Lagan AG, Prusinkiewicz P. Modeling and visualization of leaf venation patterns. In ACM SIGGRAPH 2005 (pp. 702-711).
 

Intriguingly, this algorithm can be broadly applied and is now also used to help reconstruct the architecture of trees or to model road networks and blood vessels. A truly wonderful example how computational science enables us to describe diverse types of dynamic processes.

The award also recognizes his work on the modeling and analysis of organ shape development, started during his PhD at the University of Calgary in Canada and continued as a Post-Doc in the Department of Comparative Development and Genetics at the Max Planck Institute of Plant Breeding Research in Cologne.

“It is truly an honor to have my contributions recognized by this award. The award is a testament to the exceptional mentors I’ve had throughout my career. Both in the lab of Prof Prusinkiewicz (Calgary) and Director Tsiantis (Cologne), I’ve been fortunate to find inspiring environments that fostered the ingenuity and scientific mindset required for fundamental advances.”

(Adam Runions)

„It has been a great pleasure to work with Adam Runions over many years, and to now see his creativity and hard work recognized by the prestigious Heinz Billing award for the advancement of computer science. This recognition also shows how algorithmic research in plant biology can have broad relevance and impact. And it highlights the importance of interdisciplinary approaches for solving scientific problems.“

(Miltos Tsiantis)

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