Microbiologist Christa Schleper has dedicated her research career to archaea – the tiny unicellular organisms that counted among the first life forms on Earth. Not only has the 2022 Wittgenstein Award winner discovered numerous of these microorganisms, but she also pioneered in cultivating them in the laboratory.

In addition to evolution, archaea also have an important ecological function in which Schleper is interested. Her research could help make agriculture more climate-friendly. Like many researchers, the biologist supports the climate movement and calls on politicians to take action.