Born 1949 in Alsfeld, Germany. Doctorate in Biology Univ. Heidelberg, postdoctoral assistent at the Institute of Virus Research at the German Cancer Research Center Heidelberg (1977-1978), postdoctoral fellow and expert consultant at the National Institute of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, USA (1978-1982), Professor at the Institute for Mikrobiology Univ. Heidelberg (1982-1986), Director at the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry (1986 - 2014). Numerous prizes and awards, among them the Feldberg Prize (1992), the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize (1994), the Louis Jeantet Prize for Medicine (1995), the Deutsche Zukunftspreis (1999), the Medal for International Cooperation in Science and Technology of China (2007) and the Federal Cross of Merit, First Class (2009). President of the Max Planck Society from 2002 to 2014. Emertius since 2014.