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Structural Biologist Stefan Raunser Appointed Einstein Professor at Freie Universität Berlin

New Appointment for Professor of Membrane Biochemistry at Institute of Chemistry and Biochemistry

№ 397/2013 from Dec 19, 2013

Stefan Raunser was appointed the new Einstein Professor of Membrane Biochemistry at Freie Universität Berlin as of January 1, 2014. Raunser is a young scientist who studies macromolecules using cryoelectron microscopy and is one of the world’s leading structural biologists. "The appointment in this promising area of research is a great asset for Berlin," said Prof. Dr. Dr. h. c. mult. Martin Grötschel, CEO of the Einstein Foundation.

Structural biology is a field of basic biological research that deals with the structure of macromolecules, in particular proteins. Stefan Raunser's work is very important for both biology and medicine, as he investigates the molecular causes of high cholesterol in blood. Raunser also studies toxins that are secreted by bacteria and inject deadly substances into cells. This work provides important insights for fighting cancer.

Raunser uses specialized procedures such as cryoelectron microscopy, which produces high-resolution images in which individual molecules in the cells are visible. As part of his appointment agreement, the university is purchasing a new cryoelectron microscope of the latest generation costing 4.6 million euros.

"The first electron microscope was developed in Berlin. I am very happy that with my research I have an opportunity to continue on in this tradition of excellence," said Stefan Raunser. "Within the city there are various opportunities for collaboration with other research institutions. I am looking forward to encountering stimuli for new research activities."

The appointment was made possible by the Berlin Einstein Foundation, which gives the universities in Berlin financial support to appoint top researchers as professors. The biochemist Stefan Raunser, 37, was a junior research group leader at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Physiology in Dortmund. Previously he was a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University.

Raunser is highly regarded by professional colleagues around the world. The scientific quality and thematic breadth of his work is documented by a large number of publications in prestigious journals such as Nature, Cell, and Science. Raunser's scientific career has been supported by major grants from noteworthy foundations, including the German Chemical Industry Fund, the Boehringer-Ingelheim Foundation, and the Mercator Foundation. In 2013 he was awarded an ERC Consolidator Grant totaling more than two million euros. The European Research Foundation awards its ERC Consolidator Grants to outstanding researchers at the stage at which they are consolidating their own independent research.

Further Information

Dr. Nina Diezemann, Office of News and Public Affairs, Freie Universität Berlin, Tel.: +49 30 838-73190, Email: nina.diezemann@fu-berlin.de