Max Planck scientist receives Bavarian Maximilian Order

F. Ulrich Hartl, Director at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry in Martinsried was awarded the Bavarian Maximilian Order for Science and Art.

November 10, 2021

F. Ulrich Hartl, director of the research department "Cellular Biochemistry" at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry in Martinsried, received the Bavarian Order of Maximilian in the Munich Residence on November 10. With this award, the Free State of Bavaria honors the highest scientific and artistic achievements. F. Ulrich Hartl investigates how proteins fold properly and what role misfolded structures and protein aggregates play in aging and neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's: "I feel very honored to receive this recognition." In addition to Hartl, nine other personalities received the award this year, including the president of the Max Planck Society, Martin Stratmann.

Proteins can only fulfill their complex tasks in the organism if they are folded correctly. However, correct folding often requires helper proteins, the so-called molecular chaperones. The researchers led by F. Ulrich Hartl are investigating the structure and function of these molecules. For the "chaperonin" subgroup, the scientists have already been able to show in detail how they work: They encapsulate proteins during their folding so that aggregates cannot form. Such aggregates can be the cause of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and Huntington's disease. F. Ulrich Hartl and his team are also searching for strategies to prevent proteins from forming aggregates, which one day might become useful in treating these presently incurable diseases.

About F. Ulrich Hartl
F.-Ulrich Hartl was born in 1957. He studied Medicine at the University of Heidelberg, where he also obtained his doctoral degree. Hartl joined Walter Neupert’s research group at LMU as a postdoc and then became a group leader in Neupert’s department. A fellowship from the German Research Foundation (DFG) enabled him to undertake research at the University of California, Los Angeles. He did research as a Professor and Howard Hughes Medical Investigator at the Sloan Kettering Institute and Cornell University in New York, USA. In 1997, the Max Planck Society succeeded in enticing the renowned scientist back to Germany. Since then, he has been Director and head of the Department of Cellular Biochemistry at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry. Within the last years he was honored with multiple scientific prizes including 2011 the Albert Lasker Award for Basic Medical Research, 2012 the Shaw Prize together with Arthur Horwich, and 2016 the Albany Medical Center-Prize together with Horwich and Susan Lee Lindquist. In 2018, Hartl was inducted into the Hall of Fame of German Research, in 2019 he received the Dr. Paul Janssen Award and the Paul Ehrlich- and Ludwig Darmstaedter-Prize, and in 2020 he was awarded the Breakthrough Prize.

About the Bavarian Maximilian Order
The Bavarian Order of Maximilian was established in 1853 by King Maximilian II of Bavaria. Since then, it has been awarded to more than 570 scientists and artists for their outstanding achievements. The honor - usually awarded by the Prime Minister in a ceremonial act - signifies admission to the Order's community, which should not number more than one hundred living recipients.

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