Prize KNAW

Stefan Barakat receives Early Career Award

Stefan Barakat of the Department of Clinical Genetics at Erasmus MC is one of twelve young researchers to receive an Early Career Award from the KNAW.

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The prize, consisting of a sum of 15,000 euros and a work of art, is intended for researchers in the Netherlands who are at the beginning of their careers and have innovative, original research ideas. The winners are free to spend this amount on their research career as they see fit.

The winners come from the full breadth of science. Stefan Barakat, assistant professor and resident in the Department of Clinical Genetics, is pleased with the prize. ‘The amount will come in handy for our genetic research.’


Barakat conducts research into the genetic cause of neurodevelopmental disorders and the role of non-coding DNA in this. As a physician and researcher, he builds bridges between fundamental research and patient care.

His research group is engaged in disease modeling for new genetic disorders. Barakat and his colleagues are also developing new technology to better understand the influence of genetic variants that lie outside the protein-coding genes.

Brain disorders

For his research, he engages in many international collaborations. In this way, the research contributes to more knowledge about brain disorders and the development of new possibilities for therapy.

Barakat is proud of what he and his colleagues have achieved in less than five years. For example, he discovered Barakat-Perenthaler syndrome, a severe untreatable form of epilepsy. Four years after they discovered the disease, the Rotterdam namers are now working on developping a treatment.

‘This case is a great illustration of how, through international collaboration, the step from ‘unsolved’ patient, to new disease model and now even therapy development can be made in a relatively short time.’

Read more about his research on Amazing.

The KNAW Early Career Award is being awarded for the third time this year. For more information and the award ceremony on 14 February 2022, please visit the KNAW website.

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