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Professor Ernst-Ludwig Winnacker

DFG President from 1998 to 2006

Professor Dr. Ernst-Ludwig Winnacker

Professor Dr. Ernst-Ludwig Winnacker

born on 26 July 1941 in Frankfurt/Main 
Research area: Biochemistry
Since 1980: Full Professor of Biochemistry, University of Munich

Curriculum Vitae

1960 - 1965Study of chemistry, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich
1965 - 1968Doctorate, Laboratory of Organic Chemistry, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology
1968 - 1972Postdoctorates, University of California in Berkeley and Karolinska Institute, Stockholm
1972 - 1977Assistant, then DFG Visiting Professor, Institute for Genetics, University of Cologne
1977 - 1980Associate Professor, Institute of Biochemistry, Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich
Since 1980Full Professor, Institute of Biochemistry, University of Munich
1984 - 1997Director of the Laboratory of Molecular Biology, University of Munich Gene Centre
1987 - 1993Vice President of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft
1998 - 2006President of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft

Positions in Scientific Societies and Boards

1984 - 1987Expert Member of the Enquete Commission of the German Parliament
Since 1988Member of the Scientific-Technical Advisory Council of the Bavarian State Government
Since 1988Member of the Academy of Natural Scientists/Leopoldina
Since 1989Member of the International Science Committee of the National Academy of Science in Beijing, China
Since 1993Member of the North Rhine-Westphalian Academy of Sciences and Humanities
Since 1994External Vice President of the Academy of Natural Scientists/Leopoldina in Halle
Since 1997Member of the Göttingen Academy of Sciences
Since 1998Ex officio - Vice President of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation
Since 1998Member of the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities
2000 - 2004Mitglied der European Life Science Group von EU-Kommissar Philipe Busquin
2000 - 2003Member of the National Ethics Board
2003 - 2004Chairman der European Heads of Research Councils (EUROHORCs)

Prizes and Distinctions

1992Bavarian Order of Merit
1994Arthur Burckhardt Prize
1996Officer's Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany
1999Dr. honoris causa, Veterinary University of Vienna, Austria
1999Bavarian Maximilian Order for Science and the Arts
1999Zimmermann Prize for Cancer Research


Arthur Burckhardt Foundation, Stuttgart - Board of Trustees; Aventis Foundation, Strasbourg - Board of Trustees of the Karl-Winnacker Fonds; Bayer AG, Leverkusen - Supervisory Board; Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities, Berlin - Full Member of the Biowissenschaftlich-medizinischen Klasse; Braunschweig Prize - Member of the Jury; Burda Foundation "Prometheus", Munich - Board of Trustees; Evangelical Academy Tutzing - Board of Trustees; Eppendorf Young Investigator Award, Hamburg - Selection Committee; Fondation de la Maison de la Chimie, Paris ; Gottlieb Daimler and Karl Benz Foundation, Ladenburg - Board of Trustees; Harvard Medical School - Visiting Committee, Board of Overseers; Institute of Medicine - National Academy of Science, Washington; Institute Technology-Theology-Natural Sciences (TTN) - Honorary Chairman; Herbert Quandt Foundation, Bad Homburg - Board of Trustees; KWS Saat AG - Supervisory Board; MediGene, Martinsried bei München - Chairman, Board of Trustees; Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry, Martinsried bei München - External Scientific Member; Deutsche Telekom Foundation, Bonn - Board of Trustees; Deutsches Museum, München - Board of Trustees.

Main Research Fields

  • Virus/cell interaction

  • Mechanisms of gene expression in higher cells

  • Prionic diseases (including BSE)

Major Publications

  • Gene und Klone, Eine Einführung in die Gentechnologie, Verlag Chemie (1984);
  • From Genes to Clones, VCH Publishers (1987);
  • Am Faden des Lebens, Piper Verlag (1993);
  • Wissens-Werte (H. Zehetmair, Herausgeber), R. S. Schulz (1995)
  • Viren, Die heimlichen Herrscher, Eichborn Verlag, Frankfurt (1999)
  • Das Genom (Eichborn Verlag), Frankfurt 2002, aktualisierte und erweiterte Neuausgabe