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Markus Landthaler promoted to Professor

With April 1st, systems biologist Markus Landthaler of the MDC has been appointed Professor for “RNA Systems Biology” at the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin.


Prof. Markus Landthaler. Image: David Außerhofer/MDC

Prof. Markus Landthaler is a group leader at the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine in the Helmholtz Association (MDC). He wants to understand how proteins bind to and modulate the function of the messenger RNA (mRNA) and influence the transmission of genetic information.

His new chair “RNA Biology” at the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin (HU) was appointed within the framework of the Integrative Research Institute of Life Sciences (IRI Life Sciences). IRI Life Sciences is a collaboration between the HU, the MDC and the Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin. The chair is intended to bridge the activities at IRI Life Sciences and the Berlin Institute for Medical Systems Biology (BIMSB) of the MDC.

“The Reviewers and the Scientific Council emphasized that the MDC, the Humboldt-Universität and Berlin can count themselves lucky to retain such a cooperative scientist and inspiring colleague like Markus Landthaler,” Prof. Thomas Sommer said in his laudation, who is chair of the appointments committee and Deputy Scientific Chair of the MDC.

Personal career of Markus Landthaler

After obtaining his PhD from the University of Würzburg in 2003, Landthaler worked with Prof. Thomas Tuschl of Rockefeller University in New York. In the Tuschl lab he and his colleague Markus Hafner developed the PAR-CLIP technology, which allows researchers to assign specialized sites and motifs on RNA to the respective RNA-binding proteins.

In 2009, Landthaler established his research group “RNA Biology and Posttranscriptional Regulation” at the newly-founded Berlin Institute for Medical Systems Biology (BIMSB) at the MDC. The main interest of his lab is RNA-protein interaction and gene regulation, which his team analyzes at the cell-wide level. The researchers develop their own highly sophisticated analytical tools. Five years ago, the Landthaler lab discovered more than 200 novel RNA-binding proteins, greatly expanding the number of these posttranscriptional regulators. In 2016, the GlaxoSmithKline Foundation awarded Markus Landthaler its science prize for his outstanding research.

The Max Delbrück Center

The Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine in the Helmholtz Association was founded in January 1992 on the recommendation of the German Council of Science and Humanities (“Wissenschaftsrat”) with the goal of linking basic science to clinical research. The MDC integrated parts of three former Central Institutes of the GDR Academy of Sciences and was

named for Max Delbrück, a physicist, biologist, and Nobel Prize winner. Currently the institute employs more than 1600 people from nearly 60 countries; over 1300 of those are directly involved in research. The MDC’s annual budget is over 80 million Euros, along with substantial third-party funding obtained by individual scientific groups. As is the case with all Helmholtz institutes, the MDC receives 90 percent of its funding from the federal government and 10 percent from Berlin, the state where it resides.