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24.05.2018

Michael Sattler to become a member of the Leopoldina

Prof. Dr. Michael Sattler has been elected as a member of the Leopoldina, the German National Academy of Sciences, for his accomplishments in the field of structural biology. The director of the Institute of Structural Biology at the Helmholtz Zentrum München bolsters the Biochemistry and Biophysics section. The award ceremony took place on May 23 over the course of the annual assembly of the Leopoldina in Halle.

Source: Markus Scholz for the Leopoldina

The German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina tackles important future perspectives for the society from a scientific point of view, independent of economic or political interests. It conveys the findings to politics as well as to the public, and promotes these topics at both national and international levels. Comprising over 1,500 members in more than 30 countries, the Leopoldina is the largest academy in Germany.

On the basis of his outstanding scientific accomplishments the structural biologist Michael Sattler has now been elected into this circle. “I am greatly honoured and delighted to be a part of this academy,” says Sattler, who began his career at the Goethe University Frankfurt. Already during his doctoral work, he focused on the development of novel methods of nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy to elucidate the spatial structure and internal mobility of biological molecules. Studying proteins and their interactions with RNAs is in the centre of his research.

Since 2007, Sattler directs the Institute of Structural Biology at the Helmholtz Zentrum München and holds the Chair of Biomolecular NMR-Spectroscopy at the Technical University of Munich. In addition, he heads the Bavarian NMR Center, which will host one of the world’s most powerful NMR spectrometers in the near future, which will promises unprecedented perspectives for biomedical research.

An example of a breakthrough was recently published by Sattler and his team in an article in the journal ‘Science’: through the integrated application of state-of-the-art structural biology techniques, the scientists found a molecular Achilles’ heel in the pathogen that causes sleeping sickness. On the basis of these findings, it is now possible to develop novel and safe drugs that eliminate the parasite in a targeted manner.
 
“Being a member of the Leopoldina provides access to a fantastic network of excellent scientists. I want to use the exchange with these outstanding colleagues to discuss research, to initiate new collaborations and to promote science”, says Sattler with a view to the future.

Further Information

Background:
The scientists of the Leopoldina are elected to the academy on the recommendation of academicians in a multi-stage selection process by the presidium.

As German Research Center for Environmental Health, Helmholtz Zentrum München pursues the goal of developing personalized medical approaches for the prevention and therapy of major common diseases such as diabetes mellitus and lung diseases. To achieve this, it investigates the interaction of genetics, environmental factors and lifestyle. The Helmholtz Zentrum München has about 2,300 staff members and is headquartered in Neuherberg in the north of Munich. Helmholtz Zentrum München is a member of the Helmholtz Association, a community of 18 scientific-technical and medical-biological research centers with a total of about 37,000 staff members. 

The Institute for Structural Biology (STB) investigates the spatial structures of biological macromolecules, their molecular interactions and dynamics using integrated structural biology by combining X-ray crystallography, NMR-spectroscopy and other methods. Researchers at STB also develop NMR spectroscopy methods for these studies. The goal is to unravel the structural and molecular mechanisms underlying biological function and their impairment in disease. The structural information is used for the rational design and development of small molecular inhibitors in combination with chemical biology approaches.

Technical University of Munich (TUM) is one of Europe’s leading research universities, with more than 500 professors, around 10,000 academic and non-academic staff, and 40,000 students. Its focus areas are the engineering sciences, natural sciences, life sciences and medicine, com-bined with economic and social sciences. TUM acts as an entrepreneurial university that promotes talents and creates value for society. In that it profits from having strong partners in science and industry. It is represented worldwide with a campus in Singapore as well as offices in Beijing, Brussels, Cairo, Mumbai, San Francisco, and São Paulo. Nobel Prize winners and inventors such as Rudolf Diesel, Carl von Linde, and Rudolf Mößbauer have done research at TUM. In 2006 and 2012 it won recognition as a German "Excellence University." In international rankings, TUM regularly places among the best universities in Germany.