Patrick Cramer

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Patrick Cramer
Born (1969-02-03) 3 February 1969 (age 53)
AwardsGottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize (2006)
Ernst Jung Prize (2009)
Louis-Jeantet Prize (2021)
Scientific career
InstitutionsMax Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry, Göttingen, Germany Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden (Guest Professor)

Patrick Cramer (born 2 February 1969 in Stuttgart, West Germany) is a German chemist, structural biologist, and molecular systems biologist. In 2020, he was honoured to be an international member of the National Academy of Sciences.[1]


Patrick Cramer studied chemistry at the Universities of Stuttgart and Heidelberg (Germany) from 1989 until 1995.[2] He completed a part of his studies as ERASMUS scholar at the University of Bristol in the UK. As a research student he also worked in the lab of Sir Alan Fersht in Cambridge, UK at the MRC Laboratory for Molecular Biology (LMB) site. In 1995 until 1998 he worked as a PhD student in laboratory of Christoph W. Müller at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Grenoble, France. He obtained his PhD in natural sciences (Dr. rer. nat.) from the University of Heidelberg in 1998.[2] From 1999 until 2001 Cramer worked as postdoctoral researcher and fellow of the German Research Foundation (DFG) in the laboratory of the later Nobel Prize laureate Roger D. Kornberg at Stanford University, USA.[3]

In 2001 Patrick Cramer returned to Germany, where he obtained a tenure-track professorship for biochemistry at the Gene Center of the University of Munich (Ludwig Maximilians University, LMU where he was later, in 2004, appointed full professor of biochemistry. Patrick Cramer headed the Gene Center of the University of Munich for 10 years,[4] from 2004 until 2013.[2] He also served as Dean of the School of Chemistry and Pharmacy from 2007 to 2009, and as Director of the Department of Biochemistry from 2010 to 2013. Cramer also was a member of the University Research Board from 2007 to 2013 and speaker of the research network grant SFB464 of the German Research Council (DFG).

On 1 January 2014 Patrick Cramer was appointed Director at the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in Göttingen, Germany.[2][5]

He is a member of the Editorial Board for Cell.[6]

In June 2023, he will become the new president of the Max Planck Society. [7]


Patrick Cramer conducts basic research as the head of the Department of Molecular Biology[8] at the Max Planck Institute in Göttingen. He also works as a science manager and an honorary professor at the University of Göttingen. During his postdoctoral research with Roger Kornberg, Cramer determined the atomic, three-dimensional structure of RNA polymerase II, one of the biggest enzymes in the cell nucleus. This work played a decisive role when the Nobel Prize in chemistry was awarded to Roger Kornberg in 2006 for studies of the molecular basis of eukaryotic transcription.[9]

The laboratory of Patrick Cramer investigates the molecular mechanisms and systemic principles of gene transcription in eukaryotic cells. The laboratory uses integrated structural biology methods, including X-ray crystallography, cryo-electron microscopy, and biochemical tools. The Cramer laboratory also uses functional genomics and computational biology approaches to study the principles of transcription in living cells.[8]

The group of Patrick Cramer created the first molecular movie of transcription initiation and elongation.[10] Moreover, Patrick Cramer developed methods to analyze fundamental aspects of RNA metabolism in cells by integrating aspects of both molecular and systems biology. His long-term goal is to understand the expression and the regulation of the genome. The laboratory thus pioneers an approach that combines structural and genome-wide methods and may be referred to as molecular systems biology.

In April 2020, Dr Cramer's team at the Max Planck Institute of Biophysical Chemistry created the first "3D structure of the corona polymerase"[11] for the COVID-19 virus. Their model will allow researchers "to investigate how antiviral drugs such as remdesivir – which blocks the polymerase – work, and to search for new inhibitory substances."[11]

Patrick Cramer also commits himself to the further development of life sciences in Germany and Europe. He was one of the founders of the national cluster of excellence "Center for Integrated Protein Science (CIPSM)" and initiated the construction of the new research building, the "Munich Research Center for Molecular Biosystems (BioSysM)". In addition, Cramer was one of the members of the scientific and technical advisory board of the Bavarian state government and worked on bioethics within the institute TTN. Patrick Cramer also serves as an organizer of international conferences, and on several scientific committees and advisory boards. Since 2016 Cramer chairs the Council of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL)[12]


Original research articles (selection)[edit]

Review articles (selection)[edit]

Other publications (selection)[edit]

  • Aufbruch in die molekulare Systembiology. - Essay for the anniversary edition "20 Jahre Laborjournal", Published in Laborjournal on 11 July 2014.
  • Entwicklungen in der Biomedizin: Genom-Sequenzierung in Diagnose, Prävention und Therape; Systembiologie und Medizin. In: T. Rendtorff (Hrsg.): Zukunft der biomedizinischen Wissenschaften. Nomos, 2013, ISBN 978-3-8487-0849-9.
  • O. Primavesi, P. Cramer, R. Hickel, T. O. Höllmann; W. Schön: Lob der Promotion. Published in Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung on 19 July 2013.
  • J. Hacker, T. Rendtorff, P. Cramer, M. Hallek, K. Hilpert, C. Kupatt, M. Lohse, A. Müller, U Schroth, F. Voigt, M. Zichy. Biomedizinische Eingriffe am Menschen – Ein Stufenmodell zur ethischen Bewertung von Gen- und Zelltherapie. Water de Gruyter, Berlin. ISBN 978-3-11-021306-5 (2009).

Awards and honours (selection)[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ "2020 NAS Election".
  2. ^ a b c d "Website of the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry, CV" (PDF).
  3. ^ "Website of the Kornberg Laboratory: List of current and past lab members". Retrieved 23 May 2017.
  4. ^ "History of the Gene Center of the University of Munich LMU". Archived from the original on 1 March 2012. Retrieved 23 May 2017.
  5. ^ "Press release by the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry: Patrick Cramer appointed Director". Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry. 2 January 2014. Retrieved 23 May 2017.
  6. ^ "Editorial Board: Cell".
  7. ^ "Patrick Cramer wird ab Juni 2023 neuer Präsident der Max-Planck-Gesellschaft". (in German). Retrieved 2022-07-11.
  8. ^ a b "Website of the Cramer Laboratory at the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in Göttingen, Germany". Retrieved 23 May 2017.
  9. ^ "Advanced information on the Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2006" (PDF). Retrieved 23 May 2017.
  10. ^ Cheung, AC; Cramer, Patrick (2012). "A Movie of RNA polymerase II Transcription". Cell. 149 (7): 1431–1437. doi:10.1016/j.cell.2012.06.006. PMID 22726432.
  11. ^ a b "Researchers Solve Structure of SARS-CoV-2 Viral Copy Machine". from Technology Networks. Retrieved 29 April 2020.
  12. ^ "Website of the EMBL Council". Retrieved 23 May 2017.
  13. ^ "Press release by the German Research Foundation (DFG) on the Leibniz Price 2006". Retrieved 23 May 2017.
  14. ^ "Bijvoet Medal". Bijvoet Center for Biomolecular Research. Archived from the original on 12 September 2017. Retrieved 12 September 2017.
  15. ^ "List of laureates of the Ernst Jung Prize for Medicine". Archived from the original on 19 September 2016. Retrieved 23 May 2017.
  16. ^ "Website of the Bayer Foundation on the Hansen Family Award". Retrieved 23 May 2017.
  17. ^ "Press release by the University of Munich: Patrick Cramer receives ERC Advanced Grant". Retrieved 23 May 2017.
  18. ^ "Website of the Feldberg Foundation Prize". Retrieved 23 May 2017.
  19. ^ "Press release of the University of Munich: Cross of Merit for Patrick Cramer". Retrieved 23 May 2017.
  20. ^ "Website of the Arhur Burkhardt Foundation". Retrieved 23 May 2017.
  21. ^ "Website of the Cramer Laboratory at the Karolinska Institutet Stockholm, Sweden". Retrieved 23 May 2017.
  22. ^ "Press release by the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry, Göttingen, Germany: Advanced Grant of the ERC for Patrick Cramer". Retrieved 23 May 2017.
  23. ^ "Biochemical Society – The Centenary Award". Retrieved 23 May 2017.
  24. ^ "Patrick Cramer erhält den Louis-Jeantet-Preis für Medizin 2021". Max-Planck-Gesellschaft (in German). 31 March 2021. Retrieved 30 April 2021.