Director 1998 – 2018
Born on February 15, 1950 in Hanover, Wieland B. Huttner studied medicine in Hamburg and Oxford. He completed his PhD at the Hamburg University in 1976, and worked as a postdoc at both the Max Planck Institute for Experimental Medicine and at Yale University. In 1981, he became head of a junior research group at the Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry, and group head at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory in Heidelberg in 1985. Wieland Huttner served as Professor and Chair at the Institute for Neurobiology at Heidelberg University (1991–2000), and was thereafter appointed as one of the four Founding Directors of the MPI-CBG in 1998. Wieland Huttner is Honorary Professor for Neurobiology at Dresden University of Technology and acted as chair of the Scientific Council of the Max Planck Society 2009–2012. In 2018, he became Director Emeritus.
Director 2007 – 2019
Elisabeth Knust was born on January 9, 1951. She completed her PhD in biology at the University of Düsseldorf in 1979 and worked as a postdoctoral fellow at the Institute of Clinical Virology at the University Erlangen-Nürnberg (1980–1983). Elisabeth Knust was Assistant Professor at the Institute of Developmental Biology at the University of Cologne from 1983 to 1988), and a Heisenberg Fellow at the University of Cologne and University of Boulder, Colorado (1988–1990). She became Full Professor for Developmental Biology at the University of Cologne in 1990, then moved on to the Heinrich-Heine University in Düsseldorf as Full Professor and Head of the Institute of Genetics in 1996. She became one of the Directors at the MPI-CBG in 2007, succeeding Founding Director Kai Simons. Elisabeth Knust received the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize in 1997. She became Director Emerita in 2019.
Director 2012 – 2022
Gene Myers was born on December 31, 1953. In 2012, he joined the scientific community in Dresden as the Founding Director of the Center for Systems Biology (CSBD) and Director at the MPI-CBG. Previously, he had been a group leader at the HHMI Janelia Farm Research Campus (JFRC) since its inception in 2005. Gene came to the JFRC from UC Berkeley where he was on the faculty of Computer Science from 2003 to 2005. He was formerly Vice President of Informatics Research at Celera Genomics for four years. Prior to that Gene was on the faculty of the University of Arizona for 17 years and he received his PhD in Computer Science from the University of Colorado in 1981. He was voted the most influential in bioinformatics in 2001 by Genome Technology Magazine and was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 2003. In 2004, Gene Myers won the International Max Planck Research Prize, was inducted into Leopoldina, the German Academy of Science, in 2006, and was awarded an honarary doctorate at ETH, Zurich.
Director 1998 – 2006
Kai Simons was born on 24 May 1938 in Helsinki, Finland. In 1964, he graduated from the University of Helsinki as Medical Doctor, followed by postdoctoral work at the Rockefeller University in New York, USA. Back at the University of Helsinki, he held two professorships in the area of Biochemistry between 1971–1979 next to a position as Investigator at the Finnish Medical Research Council from 1967–1975. Kai Simons joined the European Molecular Biology Laboratory in Heidelberg, Germany in 1975 as a research group leader, where he also coordinated the Cell Biology Programme from 1982–1998. He is one of the founding directors of the MPI-CBG. In 2006, he became Director Emeritus.
Director 2000 – 2013
Jonathon Howard was born on 15 August 1957 in Sydney, Australia. After studying mathematics (B.Sc.) and neurobiology (Ph.D.) at the Australian National University in Canberra, he did postdoc work at the Australian National University, the University of Bristol, and at the University of California, San Francisco. He held several faculty positions at the University of Washington in Seattle from 1989 to 2001, including Professor of Physiology and Biophysics (1997-2001). He joined the team of MPI-CBG Directors in 2000, was Director and Research Group Leader at the Institute for 13 years. In 2013, Jonathon Howard got an offer from Yale University as Eugene Higgins Professor of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry and accepted it.