German Federal Health Minister Hermann Gröhe said he was pleased that Prof. Dr. Wieler was willing to accept the position as the new head of the Robert Koch Institute. Gröhe said, "Due to his great expertise, Prof. Dr. Wieler is an internationally recognized scientist in the field of infectious disease. I am certain that under his direction, the RKI will continue to be well prepared for its important mission to protect the population in our country and to combat national and international health hazards."
Prof. Dr. Lothar H. Wieler earned his doctorate at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München. Since 1998 he has been a professor at Freie Universität's Institute of Microbiology and Epizootics, where he is currently the managing director of the institute. Wieler's research activities at the universities in Munich, Ulm, and Gießen, as well as research he did in the United States and the U.K., have focused on the mechanisms of transmission of infectious agents and their disease-causing factors. Using genome analysis, Wieler tracks the history of infectious agents and the relationship between them, making it possible to immediately trace the outbreaks and curb them faster. One of his main areas of research is infections with multi-resistant bacteria, which is one of the greatest challenges of infectious medicine. Since 2007 Wieler has been the coordinator of the FBI Zoo (Food-Borne Zoonotic Infections of Humans) network, which is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Research. He is the spokesperson for the International Research Training Group, Functional Molecular Infection Epidemiology, which was established jointly with the University of Hyderabad (India) and is funded by the DFG. He has been a member of Leopoldina, the German National Academy of Sciences, since 2010.