Lothar Willmitzer


Date of birth: 27th March 1952

Place of birth: Osterburg/Sachsen-Anhalt, Germany

Citizenship: German

Position held: Managing Director of the
Max-Planck-Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology
Am Mühlenberg 1, 14476 Golm, Germany

Main field of research: Plant Biotechnology, Systems Biology, Molecular Plant Physiology



Apr 1970 - Studies of Chemistry at the Technical University,
Jan 1975 Braunschweig ( Rating : Excellent (Mit Auszeichnung))

Apr 1977 Ph. D. (Dr. rer. nat.) Gesellschaft für Biotechnologische Forschung /Technical University Braunschweig ( Rating : Summa cum laude)

1977 - 1979 Staff Scientist at the Gesellschaft für Biotechnologische Forschung, Braunschweig, Dept. Molecular Biology

1979 - 1984 Staff Scientist at the Max-Planck-Institut for Plant Breeding, Department Jeff Schell, Köln

Dec 1983 Habilitation in Genetics at the University, Köln

Jan 1985 - Jun 1986 Leader of an Independent Research Group at
the Max-Planck-Institut for Plant Breeding, Köln

Jul 1986 Offer of the chair of Molecular Biology at the University FU Berlin, at the same time Scientific Director of the Institute of Genetic and Biological Research Ltd., Berlin

1993 Appointment as Director of the Max-Planck-Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology, Potsdam-Golm and Scientific Member of the Max-Planck-Society

1995 Honorary Professor at the University Potsdam

2002-2005 Chairman of the Biology & Medical Section of the Scientific Council of the Max Planck Society



1981 Otto-Hahn-Medal of the Max-Planck-Society

1985 Dozentenpreis of the Fonds of the Chemical Industry

1994 Max-Planck-Preis of the Max-Planck-Society

1998 DECHEMA Preis of the Max Buchner Research Foundation

1999 Karl-Heiz-Beckurts-Preis


Membership in Academies

since 1993 Member of the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO)

since 1993 Member of Berlin-Brandenburgische Akademie der Wissenschaften, Berlin

since 1993 Corresponding Member of the Göttinger Akademie der Wissenschaften

since 1994 Member of the "Academia Europaea"

since 1999 Member of the "Leopoldina", Halle

since 2006 Member of the Steering committee of the Berlin-Brandenburgische Akademie der Wissenschaften (Member of the Academy since 1993)


Membership of Scientific Councils and Commissions

1990 - 1994 Member of the Central Advisory Committee for Biological Safety

1993 - 2001 Member of the Scientific Commission of the Institute of Plant Genetics and Crop Research, Gatersleben (President from 1996 to 2001)

1996 - 2000 Member of the Senate of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft

1996 - 1999 Member of the Technology Commission (Biotechnology) of Brandenburg

1996-2000 Chairman of the Commission „Agricultural Biotechnology" of DECHEMA

1998-2005 Member of the Scientific Council of the Robert Koch Institute, Berlin

since 2000 Chairman of the Scientific Council of the Otto Warburg Center, Rehovot, Israel (member since 1998)

2000-2002 Member of the Board of Directors of the European Plant Science Organisation EPSO

since 2002 Member of the Scientific Council of the Institute for Plant Genetics of the Polish Academy of Science, Poznan

2002-2006 Member of the John Innes Center Governing Council, Norwich, England

since 2002 Member of the Board of Trustees of the Karl-Heinz-Beckurts Foundation, München

since 2002 Member of the Scientific Council of the Institute for Plant Biochemistry, Halle, Germany

since 2004 Member of the International Scientific Advisory Board (ISAB) of the Center of Molecular Biology of Plants, Tübingen, Germany

since 2005 Member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Center for Transduction and Metabolomics (C-STM), Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Bejing, China


Member of different national and international advisory commissions for the evaluation of the research work (ad-hoc-commissions)


Member of the Editorial Boards of different journals

1985 - 1988 "Plant Molecular Biology"

since 1988 "Botanica Acta"

since 1990 "Mechanisms of Development"

1991 - 1995 "The Plant Journal" (Co-editor)

since 1993 "Planta"

1996- 2005 "Theoretical and Applied Genetics"

since 2001 "Plant & Cell Physiology"

since 2005 "Molecular Systems Biology"

since 2006 "Biological Chemistry"


Publications and Patents

ca. 280 publications in scientific journals and books

More than 45 patent applications originated from the institutes under my guidance


Founder of 2 plant biotech start up companies with more than 200 employees


1996 Founder of the Biotech Company "PlantTec Biotechnologie GmbH Forschung und Entwicklung", Potsdam, Germany
(now an integrated part of Bayer Crop Science)


1998 Founder of the functional genomics company "Metanomics GmbH und Co KG", Berlin, Germany ( now an integrated part of BASF Plant Sciences)