Josef Penninger appointed as new scientific director of Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research

Betsy Goodfellow | July 3, 2023 | Appointment | Business Services Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research, Josef Penninger, appointment, scientific director 

The Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research (HZI), Germany, has appointed Professor Josef Penninger as scientific director.

Penninger has previously worked as founding director at the Institute for Molecular Biotechnology of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, Vienna, Austria; professor at the Department of Medical Genetics at the University of British Columbia, Canada; and director of the Life Sciences Institute at the University of British Columbia, Canada.

Professor Veronika von Messling, ministerial director of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research and chair of the Supervisory Board at the HZI, commented: “We are very pleased to have Josef Penninger, an outstanding researcher, as the new scientific director of the HZI. His appointment will accelerate internationalisation and increase the scientific profiling of the center. With Penninger, we bring back one of the world’s top scientists to Europe and Germany, creating a renewed push to excellence. Consequently, Germany will become even more attractive as a research destination.”

Professor Otmar D Wiestler, president of the Helmholtz Association, added: “We would like to express a warm welcome to Josef Penninger to the Helmholtz Association and wish him good luck and success with his new responsibilities at the HZI. His expertise in genetics and molecular biology and his international experience are excellent preconditions for strengthening internal health research at Helmholtz. With his ambitious plans, Josef Penninger will actively take part in building the bridge from foundational research to medical applications.”

Penninger stated: “I am very excited about the new challenges and opportunities at HZI. The HZI is a great place for research in infection biology with great scientists and a great organisation. Now it is time to make the next step – to position HZI as the best international center for infection research in the world. To accomplish this, we now build the right steps to execute on this vision, including the creation of multiple new research positions to refresh the HZI community with the best young minds from all around the world. We will also develop a unique programme on technology fellows, to make Germany a world-leader in research innovation in infection biology with the potential to develop radically new and personalised therapies and to establish unicorn companies.”

Betsy Goodfellow

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