• Hector Fellows

    Distinguished researchers in STEM fields.

Prof Dr. Dr. h.c. Nikolaus Pfanner

Institute for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Freiburg

Hector Fellow since 2011

Nikolaus Pfanner is Managing Director of the Institute for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology of the University of Freiburg.

He is an expert in the field of mitochondria and was the first scientist to succeed with his team in deciphering their molecular composition. In addition to his research on the structure of mitochondria, he investigates inner cellular transport mechanisms, i.e. the pathways of proteins from the cytosol of the cell through the mitochondrial membranes to their destination.

Nikolaus Pfanner received, among others, the Leibniz Prize of the German Research Foundation (DFG), the State Research Award of Baden-Wuerttemberg, the Otto Warburg Medal of the German Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, the Wilhelm Feldberg Prize and the Stein and Moore Award of the Protein Society and the Federal Cross of Merit. He is a member of the German National Academy of Sciences (Leopoldina), the Heidelberg Academy of Sciences and Humanities and the Academia Europaea.

Research fields

Molecular Cell Biology / Functional Biochemistry

Biogenesis of mitochondria; intracellular sorting of proteins:

  • Targeting of precursor proteins from the cytosol into mitochondria: molecular mechanisms and regulation of mitochondrial preprotein translocases
  • Cooperation of translocases during transport and assembly of mitochondrial proteins: dynamic supercomplexes and protein networks
  • Molecular architecture of the mitochondrial membranes: machineries forming membrane contact sites and maintaining the characteristic shape of mitochondria
  • for further details see: