Emeriti

Ueli Aebi was professor of Structural Biology at the Biozentrum from 1986 to 2011. He was the director of the Maurice E. Müller Institute for Structural Biology, as well as a member of the Swiss Nanoscience Institute and the NCCR Nanoscale Science. He is a member of many professional associations, including EMBO and the Academia Europaea. He has been awarded the Gregor Mendel medal by the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, the Arne Engström and Carl Zeiss Lecture Awards, and an honorary doctorate from the Charles University in Prague.

As professor of Molecular Biology from 1971 to 1996, Werner Arber was one of the founding professors, active in research and teaching at the Biozentrum. In 1978 he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. Prof. Arber was the rector of the University of Basel, a long-term member and vice-president of the Swiss Science Council and president of the International Council for Science. In 2011, he was appointed president of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences. Publications download PDF-File

As professor of Neurobiology, Yves-Alain Barde was active in research and teaching at the Biozentrum from 2003 to 2013. In his research he focused on the molecular mechanisms underlying the development of the nervous system, especially the importance of growth factors and their role in the development of neural disorders. Yves-Alain Barde is appointed member of the European Molecular Biology Organisation (EMBO) and was awarded the Perl-UNC Neuroscience Prize in 2004. Furthermore, he was co-founder of the Basel Stem Cell Network. Yves-Alain Barde is currently pursuing his research at the University of Cardiff (UK). Present webpage

Tom Bickle came to the Biozentrum on an EMBO Long Term Fellowship in 1973 and retired as Professor for Molecular Microbiology in 2005. Along the way, he served as Chairman of the Biozentrum (1991-1993) and Dean of the Faculty of Natural Sciences (1997-1998). His main research interests concerned the biology of complex DNA restriction and modification enzymes and the evolution of DNA recognition specificity. 

Max M. Burger held the position of Professor of Biochemistry at the Biozentrum from 1970 to 1987. During 1987 to 2000, he directed the Friedrich Miescher Institute in Basel. Burger was awarded the Federal Cross of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany in 2005. He received this order of merit for his contributions as a member of the Senate of the Helmholz Association of German Research Centers, Germany’s largest scientific organization. Furthermore, Burger was President of the Division of Biology and Medicine at the Swiss National Science Foundation, a member of the Board of Directors at Ciba-Geigy as well as a member of the Novartis Research Foundation.

Guy R. Cornelis was Professor of Molecular Microbiology at the Biozentrum from 2001 to 2012. His studies on the pathogenesis of bacteria from the genus Yersinia led to the discovery and characterization of type III secretion system, a complex virulence mechanism found in many Gram-negative bacteria. He also pioneered studies on Capnocytophaga canimorsus, a bacterium that feeds on glycan chains from host glycoproteins including surface glycoproteins from phagocytes. Guy R. Cornelis is a member of the European Molecular Biology Organisation (EMBO) and the American Academy for Microbiology. He is currently pursuing his research at the University of Namur (Belgium) with an «ERC Advanced Investigator Grant» from the European Research Council (http://www.urbm.be/home-guy.html).

Andreas Engel was professor of Structural Biology at the Biozentrum from 1986 to 2010. He established the biological use of molecular mass measurement and atomic force microscopes, researched the structure of aquaporins and developed the nanosciences curriculum. He was deputy director of the Maurice E. Müller Institute of Structural Biology, the coordinator of a European cluster of excellence, and vice-president of the SystemsX steering committee. Since 2008, he has been CCMSB director at Case Western Reserve University, USA.

Jürgen Engel worked in the Department of Biophysical Chemistry at the Biozentrum from 1972 to 2004. His particular research interest was the extracellular matrix (ECM), and he investigated the functions, structure, and dynamics of collagens, laminins and other ECM proteins. Prof. Engel was one of the Biozentrum's founding professors and its chairman for two years. He was also dean of the Faculty of Natural Sciences. Several times a year he works as a guest scientist at the Shriners Hospital for Children in Portland, Oregon, USA.

In 1971, Richard M. Franklin was appointed to the Biozentrum as one of its first professors. It was here that he began to concentrate on the field of structural biology, investigating the structure of membranes, in particular those which envelope viruses.

As professor of Developmental Biology and Genetics, Walter J. Gehring was active in both research and teaching at the Biozentrum from 1972 to 2009. He is a member of the national academies of the USA, the UK, France, Germany and Sweden, as well as of many professional associations. Prof. Gehring was awarded the Kyoto prize for basic research in 2000 and the Balzan prize for developmental biology two years later. In 2010, he was honored with the Grand Cross of Merit with Star of the Federal Republic of Germany.
Personal website: http://www.gehring.biozentrum.unibas.ch

Franz Grün studied physical chemistry at the University of Basel and graduated with a doctorate in the field of pharmacology under the guidance of Prof. Werner Kuhn. In his scientific research undertaken during his time at the Biozentrum, Franz Grün was primarily concerned with the investigation of the structure of macromolecules and membranes.

Hans-Peter Hauri was at the Biozentrum from 1983 until 2010, first as an independent group leader and from 1992 until 2010 as professor of Cell Biology. He worked on membrane traffic and established the ER-Golgi intermediate compartment (ERGIC) as a novel organelle of the secretory pathway. He was dean of the Biology II curriculum, the joint Biology curriculum, and the Natural Science Faculty of the University of Basel.

Karl G. Hofbauer was professor of Applied Pharmacology at the Biozentrum from 2000 to 2011. His activities included teaching medical students and adapting the curriculum to the Bachelor/Master program. Apart from general pharmacological topics, his particular scientific interest was in human disorders of energy balance, focusing on new diagnostic and therapeutic concepts. From 2001 to 2003, Prof. Hofbauer was president of the Swiss Society of Pharmacology and Toxicology.

The chemist Johan N. Jansonius earned his doctorate degree in Groningen (the Netherlands) with a thesis in the field of protein crystallography. He was appointed to professor at the Biozentrum in order to introduce this important discipline in Switzerland. His research dealt with the determination of spatial structures of enzymes and membrane proteins and with structure/action relationships of enzymes. Since 1988 he is corresponding member of the Royal Dutch Academy of Sciences (KNAW), Section Chemistry.

The physicist and molecular biologist Eduard Kellenberger (*1920, † 2004) was one of the founding fathers of the Biozentrum in 1971. He completed his doctorate in 1953 at the University of Geneva, under the supervision of the physicist and viral geneticist Jean Weigle. From the start of his research career, he attached much importance to an interdisciplinary approach to research and was also regarded as a pioneer in the fields of molecular biology and biophysics. In 1970, Kellenberger was appointed as Professor of Microbiology by the University of Basel and was entrusted with establishing an interdisciplinary research institute, the Biozentrum we know today. He was a member of the National Research Council of the Swiss National Science Foundation, a founding member of the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO) and the International Union for Pure and Applied Biophysics.

Walter Keller has been professor of cell biology at the Biozentrum from 1987 to 2008 and its chairman from 1995 to 1997. His research focuses on the biochemistry and molecular biology of the processing of eukaryotic messenger RNA and transfer RNA precursors in yeast and human cells. Professor Keller is member of the European Molecular Biology Organization and the Academia Europaea. In 1998 he received the "Louis-Jeantet Prize for Medicine" and 2007 the "Lifetime Achievement Award for Science" of the RNA Society. Publications download PDF-File

Kasper Kirschner grew up in Indonesia and studied biochemistry at the University of Munich. He earned his doctorate under the guidance of the Nobel Prize Laureate and biochemist Prof. Feodor Lynen studying the metabolism of lipids. Subsequently, he took on a postdoctoral research position at the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in Göttingen, with the biochemist and physical chemist Manfred Eigen, focusing on allosteric enzymes. In 1971, following further research at Stanford University, Kasper Kirschner moved to the Biozentrum. Here he was devoted to investigating enzyme kinetics and enzymes in protein metabolism.

Urs A. Meyer was Professor of Pharmacology at the Biozentrum from 1983 to 2008. His scientific achievements in pharmacogenomics and personalized medicine were honored with numerous prizes and awards. He is one of the most cited researchers in this field (ISIs Highly Cited Researcher Database). Urs A. Meyer was also acting chairman of the Biozentrum and has served the Scientific Community in numerous functions (member of the National Research Council SNFS, advisor to WHO, NIH, etc.).
Personal website: http://www.ursmeyer.biozentrum.unibas.ch/

Christoph Moroni is a guest professor in the Department of Biochemistry at the Biozentrum. Between 1987 and 2008 he was the director of the Institute of Medical Microbiology at the University of Basel, and also the head of the Department of Clinical Biological Sciences. He was the dean of the Faculty of Medicine and a member of the Research Council of the Swiss National Science Foundation, as well as on the board of the medical school at the University of Graz. His research interests are bacterial and viral cancer genes.

John Nicholls moved from Stanford University to become professor of Pharmacology at the Biozentrum from 1983 to 1998 where he taught neurobiology. His research was concerned with regeneration of the nervous system. The International Brain Research Organization (IBRO) has named a Fellowship in his honor and a lectureship in his name has been endowed at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution; he has two honorary degrees and is a Fellow of the Royal Society. He does research, teaches and has written a book (“From Neuron to Brain”) at Sissa in Trieste.

Peter Philippsen first came to the Biozentrum as an Assistant Professor in 1978.  Prior to this, he spent several years in postdoctoral research in Munich and Stanford after having graduated in biochemistry.  In 1986, he moved to Giessen University, in Germany. Here, amongst involvement in other projects in the field of yeast genetics, he was also one of the initiators of and contributors to the sequencing of the yeast genome. He returned to Basel in 1991, where he worked till reaching emeritus status in 2011 as Professor of Microbiology. In his research, Peter Philippsen focused on the evolution of biological systems using both yeast and filamentous fungi as model organisms. In his teaching activities, he rendered outstanding services in the realization of the Trinational Teaching Program in Biotechnology.  

Jurg Rosenbusch was professor for microbial biochemistry at the Biozentrum from 1977 to 1998. He also was a senior scientist and program coordinator in the Structure Divison at EMBL in Heidelberg from 1982 to 1985. With his collaborators, he studied structure-function relationships of microbial membrane proteins at a molecular level: highly ordered crystals allowed the structures of two membrane proteins, porin and bacteriorhodopsin, to be solved to high resolution. His present concern: a project about English renaissance literature.

Gottfried Schatz was formerly professor of Biochemistry at Cornell University (USA) and then at the Biozentrum from 1974 to 2000. He is a member of the US National Academy of Science and other academic institutions abroad. He has been awarded many prestigious prizes (Carlsberg, Louis Jeantet, Marcel Benoist, Krebs, Warburg, Gairdner, Wilson) and two honorary doctorates. He was the secretary general of the EMBO and president of the Swiss Science and Technology Council. He is currently active writing both essays and books.

The physicist Gerhard Schwarz studied and completed his doctorate in Göttingen.  He subsequently moved as a postdoc to the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, later returning to Göttingen as an assistant to the biochemist and physical chemist Manfred Eigen at the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry. He habilitated at the Technical University in Brauschweig in 1968. In 1971, Gerhard Schwarz took on the position of Professor of Physical Chemistry at the Biozentrum. The focus of his long standing research was the development of kinetic methods of measurement for the investigation of rapid chemical processes.

Anna Seelig-Löffler joined the Biozentrum of the University of Basel during her Thesis in Biophysical Chemistry under the guidance of Prof. Gerhard Schwarz. She was habilitated in Biochemistry in 1992. As an independent researcher and honorary Professor of Biophysical Chemistry she worked in the field of Membrane Biophysics with a specific interest in the function of ATP Binding Cassette (ABC) transporters and their interaction with lipid bilayers. In 2008 Anna Seelig-Löffler received the STK Award of the Swiss Society for Thermal Analysis and Calorimetry. Furthermore, she is a member of several scientific associations. Personal website: http://www.annaseelig.biozentrum.unibas.ch

Since 1972 Joachim Seelig carried out research, first, as Assistant Professor and since 1982 as Full Professor of Structural Biology at the Biozentrum of the University of Basel. He was one of the founding members of the research institution and was its chairman from 1997 to 1999 and from 2000 to 2009. Joachim Seelig developed special biophysical methods for detailed measurements of the structure and the thermodynamic behavior of cell membranes. For his research he was awarded with the Cloëtta Prize and the Julian Sturtevant Award for Outstanding Contributions to Experimental Thermodynamics. Furthermore, Joachim Seelig has been a member of numerous scientific associations including the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Science as well as the president of the Swiss Foundation for Excellence and Talent in Biomedical Research.
Personal website: http://www.joachimseelig.biozentrum.unibas.ch

Hans Thoenen studied medicine at the Universities of Bern and Innsbruck and worked in various institutes in Bern, Basel and Gent. In 1972, he was appointed leader of the neurobiological research group at the newly established Biozentrum in Basel. In 1977, Hans Thoenen was appointed director of the Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry in Munich and led the department of Neurochemistry. The main emphasis of his research was the examination of the occurrence and the triggers of neurotrophic factors, in particular of neurotrophins. Thoenen is a member of various national and international academies such as the National Academy of Science, USA. He received an honorary doctorate of the Universities of Würzburg and Zurich.