Skip to content

Internet Explorer is no longer supported by this website.

For optimal browsing we recommend using Chrome, Firefox or Safari.
Heart icon (animated) heart icon (static)
2019 Dr. Paul Janssen Award
2019 Dr. Paul Janssen Award

Franz-Ulrich Hartl, M.D.

Director of the Max Planck Institute for Biochemistry

Professor Dr. Franz-Ulrich Hartl, biochemist, was born in 1957 in Essen, Germany. He studied medicine at Ruprecht Karls University, Heidelberg, performed research at the Sloan-Kettering Institute and Howard Hughes Medical Institute, USA, from 1991 to 1997 and was a professor at Cornell University, New York, USA from 1993 to 1997. Dr. Hartl has been the director at Max Planck Institute for Biochemistry since 1997.

Hartl and his colleague Arthur L. Horwich, M.D., refuted the dogma that protein folding is generally a spontaneous process.

  • Correct 3D-structure of proteins—molecular machines of the cell—is essential for their function
  • Discoverer of molecular chaperones as protein folding helpers
  • Chaperones (e.g. Hsp70 and Hsp60) shield proteins from harmful interactions during the folding process and prevent aggregation
  • Misfolded proteins can form toxic aggregates in the cells
  • Protein aggregations are involved in the development of neurodegenerative diseases and aging processes

Honors and Awards

  • 2019 Winner Dr. Paul Janssen Award for Biomedical Research (2019)
  • Debrecen Award for Molecular Medicine, Hungary (2019)
  • Introduction to ‘Hall of Fame of German Research' (2019)
  • Paul Ehrlich and Ludwig Darmstaedter Prize (University of Frankfurt) (2019)
  • E.B. Wilson Medal, ASCB (2018)
  • Award of Vallee Visiting Professorship (Vallee Foundation, Boston) (2017)
  • Elected Inaugural Fellow of the American Society of Cell Biology (ASCB) (2017)
  • T.Y. Shen Lectureship, MIT Chemistry Department (2017)
  • Verna and Marrs McLean Lectureship in Biochemistry, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston (2017)
  • Ernst Schering Prize (2016)
  • Doctor of Science honoris causa, La Trobe University, Melbourne (2016)
  • Wenner-Gren Distinguished Lecturer, Wenner-Gren Foundation, Stockholm (2016)
  • Albany Medical Center Prize (2016)
  • The Linacre Lecturer, St. John's College, Cambridge (2015)
  • Biochemical Analytic Prize of the German Society for Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine (DGKL) (2014)
  • Tabor Research Award (2014)
  • Elected Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology (2013)
  • Shaw Prize in Life Science and Medicine, Hong Kong (2013)
  • Massry Prize, Los Angeles, USA (2012)
  • Heinrich Wieland-Prize of the Boehringer Ingelheim Foundation (2012)
  • The Dr H.P. Heineken Prize for Biochemistry and Biophysics, Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (2011)
  • Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany (2011)
  • Foreign Associate of the National Academy of Sciences, USA (2011)
  • Lasker Award for Basic Medical Research, New York, USA (2011)
  • The Twenty-Seventh Annual Cynthia Ann Chan Memorial Lecture, University of California, Berkeley (2010)
  • van Gysel Prize for Biomedical Research in Europe - 2009 (2010)
Established in 2004, the award celebrates today’s most dedicated researchers and champions of science whose basic or clinical discoveries have made, or have the potential to make, significant impact on human health.

Back to top
You are now leaving The site you’re being redirected to is a branded pharmaceutical website. Please click below to continue to that site.