Prof. Dr. Joachim P. Spatz
© DFG / Ausserhofer
Biophysics, Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems, Stuttgart, and Institute of Physical Chemistry, University of Heidelberg
Joachim Spatz will be recognised with the Leibniz Prize for his outstanding research at the boundaries of materials sciences and cell biophysics. His research is concerned with cell adhesion, that is, the adhesion and bonding of cells to one another and to surfaces. His exemplary experimental approach has garnered precise insights into the control of cell adhesion and indeed physiological processes. To achieve this, Spatz used artificial, molecularly structured boundary surfaces to reduce possible interactions to a minimum of molecular components. Joachim Spatz’ scientific achievement lies in the fact that he can study the communication mechanisms between cells in a new way with the help of concepts from materials science and physics. Using these resources, he was able to explain how the molecular mechanism of collective cell migration works in wound healing.
Joachim Spatz studied physics in Ulm and at Colorado State University. He obtained his doctorate in macromolecular chemistry in Ulm, and it was also there that he completed his habilitation with a topic on cell mechanics. Since 2000 he has been a professor of biophysical chemistry in Heidelberg. In 2004 he was appointed director of the Max Planck Institute for Metals Research, now the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems, in Stuttgart. Since 2008 he has also held a visiting professorship in molecular cell biology at the Weizmann Institute in Rehovot, Israel.