Ernst-Ludwig Winnacker (born 26 July 1941 in Frankfurt ) is a German geneticist, biochemist and research manager. His main fields of research are virus/cell interaction, the mechanisms of gene expression in higher cells and prion diseases. He was President of the German Research Foundation and Secretary General of the European Research Council and is Secretary General of the Human Frontier Science Program Organization.
Life and work
Ernst-Ludwig Winnacker is the son of the German chemisist and former CEO of the Hoechst AG Karl Winnacker.
He studied chemistry at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH Zurich) where he obtained his Ph.D. in 1968. Winnacker took part in an effort to chemically synthesize the Vitamin B12. From 1968 to 1972 he took a postdoc at the University of California, Berkeley, to work with Horace Barker, who discovered the active form of vitamin B12. Winnacker set out to isolate enzymes involved in B12 synthesis. While at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden he became intrigued by the use of recombinant DNA and associated techniques to synthesize and manipulate DNA. In 1972 he became assistant and then DFG Visiting Professor at the Institute for Genetics, University of Cologne. In 1977 he was appointed Associate Professor at the Institute of Biochemistry at the Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich where he was made full professor in 1980. From 1984 to 1997, he was Director of the Laboratory of Molecular Biology at the University of Munich Gene Center.
In 1998 he was elected President of the German Research Foundation (DFG), a position he held until the end of 2006. From 2003 to 2004 he was Chairman of the European Heads of Research Councils (EUROHORCs) and, from 2000 to 2004, Member of the European Group on Life Science (established by European Commissioner for Research Philippe Busquin). From 2007 to 2009 he served as the first Secretary General of the European Research Council (ERC). In 2009 he became as successor of the nobel prize winner Torsten Wiesel Secretary General of the Human Frontier Science Program Organization.
Honours and distinctions
- 1992 Bavarian Order of Merit 
- 1994 Arthur Burckhardt Prize 
- 1996 Officer's Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany 
- 1999 Honorary doctorate of the University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna, Austria 
- 1999 Bavarian Maximilian Order for Science and Art 
- 1999 Member of the Inventors gallery of the German Patent and Trade Mark Office
- 1999 Zimmermann Prize for Cancer Research 
- 2006 Commander’s Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany 
- 2006 Chevalier de la Legion d’Honneur 
- 2007 Commanders’s Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland 
- 2009 International Science and Technology Cooperation Award of the People’s Republic of China 
- 2009 Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Star of Japan 
- 2010 Grand Cross with Star (Knight Commander's Cross) of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany 
- 2011 Robert Koch Gold Medal 
Positions in scientific societies and boards
- 1984 - 1987 Expert Member of the Enquete Commission of the German Parliament 
- Since 1988 Member of the Scientific-Technical Advisory Council of the Bavarian State Government 
- Since 1988 Member of the Academy of Natural Scientists Leopoldina 
- Since 1989 Member of the Academia Europaea 
- Since 1989 Member of the International Science Committee of the National Academy of Science in Beijing, China 
- Since 1993 Member of the North Rhine-Westphalia Academy for Sciences and Arts 
- Since 1994 External Vice President of the Academy of Natural Scientists Leopoldina in Halle 
- Since 1997 Member of the Göttingen Academy of Sciences 
- Since 1998 Member of the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities 
- Member of the Institute of Medicine - National Academy of Science, Washington 
- 2000 - 2004 Member of the European Life Science Group of EU Commissioner Philipe Busquin 
- 2000 - 2003 Member of the German National Ethics Board 
- Winnacker, Ernst L. (1987) (in German), From genes to clones : introduction to gene technology [Gene und Klone], Horst Ibelgaufts (trans.), Weinheim, New York: VCH, ISBN 0-89573-614-4
- M Famulok; Ernst L Winnacker; Chi-Huey Wong (1999). Combinatorial chemistry in biology. Current topics in microbiology and immunology, 243. Berlin: Springer. p. 189. ISBN 3-540-65704-5.
- Gesellschaft für Biologische Chemie. Colloquium (39th : 1988 : Mosbach, Baden-Wurttemberg, Germany) (1988). E.-L. Winnacker and R. Huber, ed. Protein structure and protein engineering. Berlin, New York: Springer. p. 131. ISBN 3-540-50394-3.
- Workshop Conference Hoechst (9th : 1980 : Ising, Germany); Winnacker, Ernst L.; Schoene, Hans-H. (1982). Genes and tumor gene. New York: Raven Press. ISBN 978-0-89004-678-4.
- Literature by and about Ernst-Ludwig Winnacker in the German National Library catalogue
- Profile of HFSPO Secretary General Ernst-Ludwig Winnacker
- Gewin, Virginia (16 July 2008). "Ernst-Ludwig Winnacker, secretary-general, Human Frontier Science Program Organization, Strasbourg, France: New leadership coming to Human Frontier Science Program Organization.". Nature 454. p. 364. doi:10.1038/nj7202-364a. Retrieved 3 March 2012.
- "Profile of HFSPO Secretary General Ernst-Ludwig Winnacker". Human Frontier Science Program Organization. Retrieved 3 March 2012.
- "Profiles: Professor Ernst-Ludwig Winnacker". DFG (German Research Foundation). Retrieved 3 March 2012.
- "Price Winner" (in German). Arthur-Burkhardt-Stiftung. Retrieved 3 March 2012.
- "Die Erfindergalerie des Deutschen Patent- und Markenamts". Deutsches Patent- und Markenamt. Retrieved 3 March 2012.
- "Member of the Review Committee". Inter Academy Council. Retrieved 3 March 2012.
- "2009 Spring Conferment of Decorations on Foreign Nationals" (PDF). Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan. Retrieved 3 March 2012.
- "Ministerpräsident Seehofer händigt Bayerischen Verdienstorden und Bundesverdienstkreuz an verdiente Persönlichkeiten aus". Press Notice (in German). Bayerische Staatsregierung. 13 September 2010. Retrieved 3 March 2012.
- "Holders of the Robert Koch Gold Medal". Robert-Koch-Stiftung. Retrieved 3 March 2012.
- "Members - Ernst-Ludwig Winnacker". Academia Europaea. Retrieved 3 March 2012.