Martin Zenke

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Martin Zenke
Portrait martin zenke.jpg
Born (1953-08-07) August 7, 1953 (age 67)
Scientific career
Fieldsstem cell research, tissue engineering
InstitutionsRheinisch-Westfälische Technische Hochschule (RWTH) Medical School, Aachen, Germany.

Helmholtz-Institute for Biomedical Engineering, RWTH Aachen University, Aachen, Germany.

Research Institute of Molecular Pathology (IMP), Vienna, Austria.

Martin Zenke born August 7, 1953 in Korbach is a German biochemist, cell biologist, Professor for Cell Biology and scientist, who is conducting research on stem cells and biomedical engineering.


Martin Zenke grew up in Korbach/Waldeck, Germany and finished school at Alte Landesschule in Korbach in 1972. He studied chemistry/biochemistry and medicine at Philipps-University, Marburg/Lahn, Germany (1972-1978) and graduated in 1978 with a study on “The ribonucleotide reductase in synchronized cultures of Saccharomyces cerevisiae (baker’s yeast)”.

Professional career[edit]

In 1979 he moved to German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), Heidelberg, Institute of Virology, Section DNA Tumor Viruses (Gerhard Sauer) for doctoral studies.[1] He received his PhD from Ruprecht-Karls-University, Heidelberg in 1982 on “Transcription of SV40 Chromatin”.[2]

From 1982 to 1985 Martin Zenke worked as postdoctoral fellow with Pierre Chambon at Université Louis Pasteur, Faculté de Médecine and Laboratoire de Genetique Moleculaire des Eucaryotes (LGME) in Strasbourg, France.[3][4] From 1985 to 1988 he was EMBL fellow[5] in the Differentiation Programme of European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL), Heidelberg, Germany with Thomas Graf and Hartmut Beug.[6]

In 1988 he moved to the Research Institute of Molecular Pathology (IMP), Vienna, Austria to work as a Junior Scientist until 1995.[7][8][9] In 1992 he received his senior lecture qualification in Molecular Genetics from the Faculty of Natural Sciences, University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria. From 1995 to 2003 Martin Zenke was a Research Group Leader at Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC) in Berlin, Germany.[10]

Since 2003 he is Professor of Cell Biology and Chairman, and the founding director of the Institute for Biomedical Engineering, Chair of Cell Biology at Rheinisch-Westfälische Technische Hochschule (RWTH) Medical School, Aachen, Germany.[11][12] Since 2008 he is member of the "Central Ethics Committee for Stem Cell Research", Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and Federal Ministry of Health (BMG), Berlin, Germany. 2011-2014 he was the Managing Director of Helmholtz-Institute for Biomedical Engineering (3 year term), RWTH Aachen University, Aachen, Germany.

Main research[edit]

Martin Zenke’s research focuses on the transcriptional regulation of gene expression. In 1986 he and his colleagues showed that transcriptional enhancers exhibit a modular structure and are composed of individual elements, which on their own are rather weak but act in synergy, and thereby build up enhancer activity. In 1988 Martin Zenke started to work on retroviral oncogenes, in particular on the v-erbA and v-rel oncogenes. His laboratory constructed a series of oncogenes that could be switched on and off at will. These conditional oncogenes were used to study differentiation of hematopoietic progenitor cells into red blood cells and antigen presenting dendritic cells.

In following up on this work the Zenke laboratory now focuses on stem cells, in particular on hematopoietic stem cells and their differentiated progeny, such as dendritic cells.[13] Current work also includes studies on embryonic stem cells and induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS cells)[14] for disease modeling.


External links[edit]


  1. ^ Zenke, M; Sauer, G (Aug 11, 1982). "Spliced and unspliced virus specific RNA sequences are associated with purified simian virus 40 chromatin". Nucleic Acids Research. 10 (15): 4543–50. doi:10.1093/nar/10.15.4543. PMC 321110. PMID 6290985.
  2. ^ Zenke, Martin (1982). Transkription von SV40 Chromatin (in German). Frankfurt, Signatur: H 90b/9811: Heidelberg, Univ., Diss., 1982. p. 118.CS1 maint: location (link)
  3. ^ Zenke, M; Grundström, T; Matthes, H; Wintzerith, M; Schatz, C; Wildeman, A; Chambon, P (February 1986). "Multiple sequence motifs are involved in SV40 enhancer function". The EMBO Journal. 5 (2): 387–97. doi:10.1002/j.1460-2075.1986.tb04224.x. PMC 1166744. PMID 3011406.
  4. ^ Davidson, I; Fromental, C; Augereau, P; Wildeman, A; Zenke, M; Chambon, P (Oct 9–15, 1986). "Cell-type specific protein binding to the enhancer of simian virus 40 in nuclear extracts". Nature. 323 (6088): 544–8. doi:10.1038/323544a0. PMID 3020434.
  5. ^ Zenke, Martin. "EMBL Alumni". Retrieved 26 April 2012.
  6. ^ Zenke, M; Kahn, P; Disela, C; Vennström, B; Leutz, A; Keegan, K; Hayman, MJ; Choi, HR; Yew, N; Engel, JD (Jan 15, 1988). "v-erbA specifically suppresses transcription of the avian erythrocyte anion transporter (band 3) gene". Cell. 52 (1): 107–19. doi:10.1016/0092-8674(88)90535-1. PMID 2830979.
  7. ^ Research Institute of Molecular Pathology, former groups
  8. ^ Zenke, M; Muñoz, A; Sap, J; Vennström, B; Beug, H (Jun 15, 1990). "v-erbA oncogene activation entails the loss of hormone-dependent regulator activity of c-erbA". Cell. 6. 61 (6): 1035–49. doi:10.1016/0092-8674(90)90068-P. PMID 1972036.
  9. ^ Boehmelt, G; Madruga, J; Dörfler, P; Briegel, K; Schwarz, H; Enrietto, PJ; Zenke, M (Jan 27, 1995). "Dendritic cell progenitor is transformed by a conditional v-Rel estrogen receptor fusion protein v-RelER". Cell. 80 (2): 341–52. doi:10.1016/0092-8674(95)90417-4. PMID 7834754.
  10. ^ Hacker, C; Kirsch, RD; Ju, XS; Hieronymus, T; Gust, TC; Kuhl, C; Jorgas, T; Kurz, SM; Rose-John, S; Yokota, Y; Zenke, M (April 2003). "Transcriptional profiling identifies Id2 function in dendritic cell development". Nature Immunology. 4 (4): 380–6. doi:10.1038/ni903. PMID 12598895.
  11. ^ Zenke, Martin. "Dr. Martin Zenke nimmt Ruf auf C4-Professur in Aachen an". public relations department of the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine. Retrieved 26 April 2012.
  12. ^ Zenke, Martin. "currently appointed professors RWTH 2003". RWTH Aachen. Retrieved 26 April 2012.
  13. ^ Seré, Kristin; Baek, Jea-Hyun; Ober-Blöbaum, Julia; Müller-Newen, Gerhard; Tacke, Frank; Yokota, Yoshifumi; Zenke, Martin; Hieronymus, Thomas (November 2012). "Two Distinct Types of Langerhans Cells Populate the Skin during Steady State and Inflammation". Immunity. 37 (5): 905–916. doi:10.1016/j.immuni.2012.07.019. PMID 23159228.
  14. ^ Kim, Jeong Beom; Zaehres, Holm; Wu, Guangming; Gentile, Luca; Ko, Kinarm; Sebastiano, Vittorio; Araúzo-Bravo, Marcos J.; Ruau, David; Han, Dong Wook (July 2008). "Pluripotent stem cells induced from adult neural stem cells by reprogramming with two factors". Nature. 454 (7204): 646–650. doi:10.1038/nature07061. ISSN 0028-0836. PMID 18594515.