Albany Medical Center Prize for F.-Ulrich Hartl

Proteins are small molecular machines within each cell that perform a wide variety of essential tasks. To carry out their critical functions, newly produced immature chain-like proteins have to fold into specific, three-dimensional structures. In the 1980s F.-Ulrich Hartl and Arthur L. Horwich proved that proteins do not fold spontaneously, as had previously been thought. Rather, they need assistants in their folding process, so called chaperones.

Hartl and Horwich discovered that certain chaperones function as cage-like ‘folding machines’, offering newly synthesized proteins a protected environment, which allows them to fold properly and adopt their appropriate functional structures. Misfolded proteins are one of the main causes of severe neurodegenerative disorders such as Huntington’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. Furthermore, protein misfolding plays an important role in aging.

Prof. F.-Ulrich Hartl originally studied medicine, and has been a director at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry since 1997 where he is the head of the department of ‚Cellular Biochemistry‘. Prof. Hartl has recently been honored with a number of different scientific prizes such as the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize in 2002, the Albert Lasker Award for Basic Medical Research in 2011 and the Shaw Prize together with Horwich in 2012.

Contact:
Prof. Dr. F.-Ulrich Hartl
Department of Cellular Biochemistry
Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry
Am Klopferspitz 18
82152 Martinsried
E-Mail: uhartl@biochem.mpg.de
www.biochem.mpg.de/hartl

Dr. Christiane Menzfeld
Public Relations
Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry
Am Klopferspitz 18
82152 Martinsried
Germany
Tel. +49 89 8578-2824
E-Mail: pr@biochem.mpg.de
www.biochem.mpg.de

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