TU München distinction for research on bioactive natural substances

Christian Hertweck awarded Wilhelm Manchot Professurship

[28.01.2015] The Chemistry Department of the Technische Universität München (TUM) and the Jürgen Manchot Foundation have awarded Jena chemist Professor Christian Hertweck the 2014 Willhelm Manchot Research Professorship. With this distinction, the TUM honors the chemist’s ground-breaking work on bioactive natural substances.

With his research work, Christian Hertweck, professor at Universität Jena and director of the Department of Biomolecular Chemistry at the Leibniz Institute for Natural Product Research and Infection Biology (Hans Knöll Institute, HKI), has made a significant contributions to the understanding and production of active substances. At the core of his work are small, complex, organic molecules created by microbial biosynthesis. They bear great potential as active agents, for example in antibiotics and cancer medication.

Christian Hertweck has also made substantial contributions to basic research. He developed not only novel methodologies for exploiting bioactive natural substances from anaerobic bacteria, endosymbionts and other sources but also investigated the role they play as carriers of information in microbial interactions and symbioses. His insights shed light on the ecological interactions between organisms but also bear practical significance for medical research and routine clinical applications.

Christian Hertweck studied chemistry in Bonn and completed his doctoral dissertation at the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology in Jena. He worked as a postdoc researcher at the University of Washington (Seattle, USA). In 2001 he returned to Jena to resume his work as the director of a junior research group at the Hans Knöll Institute. He has been a full professor at Universität Jena since 2006 and deputy director of the HKI since 2008. He will receive the Leibniz Prize of the German Research Foundation (DFG) this year. Over 200 publications attest to his great scientific productivity.

Every year the Jürgen Manchot Foundation awards the Manchot Research Professorship to outstanding chemists. In addition to honoring the scientific work of the scientists, the foundation invites the award recipient to lecture at the Department of Chemistry at TU München. The prize commemorates the chemist Wilhelm Manchot (1869 – 1945), who was professor and director of the Institute of Inorganic Chemistry of the Technische Hochschule München (today TUM) from 1914 to 1935. Manchot’s merits in teaching were outstanding. He translated the venerable “Hollemann-Wiberg” into German – to this day a standard reference work well known to every student of chemistry.