Professor Rolf Müller, Managing Director of the Helmholtz Institute for Pharmaceutical Research Saarland (HIPS) has been awarded the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize by the German Research Foundation (DFG) for his outstanding research achievements. The German Center for Infection Research (DZIF) congratulates Müller on the most highly endowed award regularly presented to scientists in Germany. At the DZIF, he coordinates the research field “Novel Antibiotics”.
In its laudation, the DFG particularly emphasizes Müller's achievements in natural product research and biomedical microbiology. Müller succeeded in applying new methods from molecular biology and synthetic biology, bioinformatics and functional genomics in drug research, thus contributing to the fight against antibiotic-resistant pathogens. At the core of his research with biologically active agents from microorganisms are the soil-dwelling myxobacteria. They naturally produce a variety of natural substances, for example to eliminate microbial competitors or enemies. Müller established a worldwide program for the discovery of new myxobacterial strains, which has already led to the discovery of new bacterial species, genera and families as well as numerous candidates for new natural products. The natural products obtained, also known as secondary metabolites, are a suitable source of lead compounds for the development of new therapeutics.
Rolf Müller received his doctorate in pharmaceutical biology in Bonn in 1994, where he also received his license to practice pharmacy. He then spent two years conducting research at the University of Washington in Seattle. In 2000, he habilitated at the Technical University of Braunschweig and in 2003 accepted a professorship in pharmaceutical biochemistry at Saarland University. Since 2010, he is also managing director at the newly founded Helmholtz Institute for Pharmaceutical Research Saarland. Since 2017 he is also coordinating the DZIF research field "Novel Antibiotics" and and is significantly involved in the development of various promising substances.
In total, the German Research Foundation selected ten scientists from 131 proposals. The prize money of up to 2.5 million euros each grants the award winners a large degree of research freedom and is available to them for seven years.
Source: HIPS/HZI press release