Awarding of the MDC Honorary Memberships

Honorary Members of the Max Delbrück Center

To mark the 25th anniversary of the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine in the Helmholtz Association (MDC), the Board of Directors has introduced the research institute’s highest accolade to date. The new award recognizes those who have made particularly significant contributions to the MDC, and consists of the Max Delbrück Center Badge of Honor together with a certificate of honorary membership. The award will be presented for the first time at the silver jubilee event on December 1, 2017.

The Badge of Honor is made of silver and features a portrait of Max Delbrück, recreated from a photograph taken in 1969. It was designed by the Berlin goldsmith Ronald Frese.

Max Delbrück Badge of Honor after a photo from 1969.

The MDC Honorary Members

Prof. Heinz Riesenhuber

Prof. Heinz Riesenhuber served as Federal Minister of Research and Technology from 1982 to 1993. During his time in office, he witnessed the reunification of Germany and the merging of three research institutes from the Academy of Sciences of the GDR into the MDC. With a deep passion and understanding for science, coupled with great political courage, he and his colleagues laid the foundations that enabled the MDC to become the innovative research center it is today and to maintain its close integration of basic and clinical research.

As a member of the Christian Democratic Union party (CDU), Heinz Riesenhuber represented his second home of Frankfurt for more than 40 years in the German Bundestag. In his final parliamentary term, as the oldest member of the Bundestag, he served as Father of the House (Alterspräsident). Heinz Riesenhuber, who holds a PhD in chemistry, has also received a number of awards for his contribution to science.

Prof. Manfred Erhardt

Prof. Manfred Erhardt was Senator for Science and Research in the state of Berlin from 1991 to 1996. During this eventful time, he and his colleagues oversaw the successful restructuring of the scientific landscape in the new German capital, ensuring that the high quality of research conducted at the Berlin-Buch campus was able to continue and that new innovation could emerge. The Max Delbrück Center is greatly indebted to his dedication and political expertise.

Manfred Erhardt is one of the figures who, in his various roles, has made a significant impact on the German research landscape in recent decades. Before moving to Berlin, he worked at the Baden-Württemberg Ministry of Science, Research and the Arts and was a member of the state parliament of Baden-Württemberg. From 1996 to 2004 he held the position of secretary general of the Stifterverband für die Deutsche Wissenschaft. His contributions have earned him a number of prestigious awards.

Prof. Heinz Bielka

Prof. Heinz Bielka is one of the MDC’s most dedicated supporters when it comes to tying together the research center’s past and future. He has made significant contributions to the MDC in his role as both a scientist and a science historian. An expert chronologist, Heinz Bielka has documented the history of medical research at the Berlin-Buch campus in numerous publications and books, making this knowledge available to a wide readership. The MDC and the Berlin-Buch campus can build on this “memory” as they continue to write history.

Heinz Bielka was one of the pioneers of cellular and molecular biology working at the Central Institute for Molecular Biology of the GDR Academy of Sciences, where he eventually became deputy director. He then continued his successful career in science at the MDC up to 1995. His research, which he began under Prof. Arnold Graffi, was primarily dedicated to cancers and their causes.

Prof. Jens Reich

Physician, molecular biologist, and bioethicist Prof. Jens Reich has worked at the Berlin-Buch campus since 1968. His integrity, lucid analyses, and basic humanity set an example for all MDC employees. His conduct is always guided by ethical principles, and he still functions as an MDC ombudsman to this day, assisting researchers in situations of conflict. He is involved in animal welfare efforts and encourages debate on bioethical issues.

Jens Reich was one of the key figures of the civil rights movement in the GDR, co-founding the New Forum (Neues Forum) movement. He witnessed the preparations for German reunification as a member of the only freely elected parliament in the GDR, and stood as an independent candidate in the election for President of the Federal Republic of Germany in 1994. Jens Reich was also a member of the German Ethics Council from 2001 to 2012. At the MDC, he headed a medical genome research group from 1992 until his retirement in 2004. He has received many awards for his scientific and sociopolitical contributions.

Prof. Detlev Ganten

Prof. Detlev Ganten is the founding director of the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine. He also headed the institute from 1992 to 2004. It is thanks to his dedication, powers of persuasion, scientific vision, and belief in the success of connecting basic and clinical research that the Berlin-Buch campus was led so successfully into a new millennium. With the MDC, he created an internationally recognized research institute that lays the foundations for the medical treatments of tomorrow.

Detlev Ganten can look back at an equally successful career in science and science management. As a clinical pharmacologist, his research focused primarily on high blood pressure and the molecular genetics of cardiovascular disease. In 2004, he assumed the position of Chief Executive Officer at Charité, where he remained for four years. During this period, he combined the medical faculties of Berlin’s Freie Universität and Humboldt-Universität in the single Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin. From 2005 to 2015, he was chairman of the Board of Trustees at Stiftung Charité. He is currently president of the World Health Summit, which he founded in Berlin in 2009.

Awarding of the MDC Honorary Memberships: Prof. Martin Lohse, Prof. Heinz Bielka, Prof. Heinz Riesenhuber, Prof. Manfred Erhard, Prof. Detlev Ganten, Dr. Heike Wolke (from left)