MDC founding director Detlev Ganten celebrates his 75th birthday

Medic, science manager, innovator: Prof. Detlev Ganten, founding director of the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine in the Helmholtz Association (MDC), turns 75 on March 28, 2016.

Detlev Ganten Photo: Detlev Ganten

Detlev Ganten is one of the key figures in German biomedicine. As founding director of the MDC, which he established in 1991 and then managed for over ten years, he shaped the development of the Berlin-Buch science campus and of Berlin as a science location. From 1997 to 2001, he was also President of the Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres. In 2004 he was invited to chair the board of Charité Berlin, which he did until 2008. During this period he brought the medical faculties of the Freie Universität and Humboldt-Universität together to form the new Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin. With Johanna Quandt, he also founded the Stiftung Charité foundation. Alongside his leadership of other research organizations, Ganten has represented various bodies such as the German Ethics Council. He continues to influence many debates, particularly on healthcare in Germany.

Ganten’s priorities today are medicine and prevention; he has researched high blood pressure for decades. As president of the World Health Summit, which he founded in 2009, Ganten is committed to improving global healthcare. His guiding principle is that health is an all-embracing subject and that we can only improve global health if politics, business and civil society get involved. This year’s World Health Summit, which takes place in October in Berlin, will address issues such as improving healthcare during epidemics like Ebola and Zika, and climate change and health.

Ganten was born in Lüneburg in 1941. He studied medicine in Würzburg, Tübingen and Montpellier/France. Several years of research in Montreal/Canada followed, and then post-doc qualification and professorship at Heidelberg University. Ganten has received numerous awards at home and abroad, including the Max Planck Research Award and Japan’s Okamoto Award in 1990, and the American Heart Association’s Ciba Award for Hypertension Research in 1992. In 2000, he received the German Federal Cross of Merit, and in 2003 he became a Chevalier of the Legion d’honneur. He also holds multiple honorary doctorates and is a member of the Heidelberg Academy of Sciences and Humanities, the Polish Academy of Sciences, the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities, and the German National Academy of Scientists Leopoldina.


Founding director Prof. Dr. Detlev Ganten (right) and former Federal President Richard von Weizsäcker at the opening ceremony of the MDC in 1992. Photo: MDC


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