Born: 26 July 1941, Frankfurt/Main
"Nothing is more important for the quality of research than competition. The best researchers must compete in order to achieve excellence in scientific research."
Winnacker is biochemist and expert in gene technology. In addition to his research and lecturing duties, he has published books on genetic engineering for a broad public.
Initially, Winnacker wanted to become a conductor, but then he studied chemistry at the Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule in Zurich from 1960 to 1965. He completed his doctorate in 1968 at the organic chemistry laboratory. He spent two postdoctorate years in Berkeley (US) and at the Karolinska Institut in Stockholm.
From 1972 to 1977 he was assistant and visiting professor of the research foundation Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) at the Cologne institute for genetics, where he habilitated in 1974.
In 1977 he was invited to become a lecturer at the university of Munich and set up the "biochemistry of viruses" section at the institute of biochemistry. In 1980, he was appointed to a professorship at the biochemistry department. In the following years he was one of the main initiators of the gene centre of the university of Munich and has been chairman of this centre since 1984.
His research focuses on the interaction of viruses and cells, mechanisms of gene expression in higher cells and prion diseases.
"The term of gene technology is understood to comprise all methods for characterising and isolating genetic material, for establishing new combinations of genetic material and re-introducing and propagating the newly combined hereditary material in a different biological environment"
(from the report of the enquete commission on "prospects and risks of gene technology" of the 10th German Bundestag, 1987).
For many years, Winnacker was member of the enquete commission on "prospects and risks of gene technology" of the German Bundestag. He realised early how important it was to inform the public on gene technology. He has published popular books on this field of research. Since 1998, he has served his second term as President of DFG. He is an outspoken supporter of strong internationalisation of research and early independence of young scientists.
To find out more about Ernst-Ludwig Winnacker's patents, go to DEPATISnet
Patent document DE-3112338
(PDF - 231 KB)