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Andreas Plückthun, PhD Professor and Director, Department of Biochemistry at University of Zurich


Andreas Plückthun, Ph.D., is a Professor of Biochemistry of the Department of Biochemistry at the University of Zurich, Switzerland. His research is centered on protein engineering. His contributions have included many aspects of antibody engineering, expression technology, design of synthetic antibody libraries, the development of ribosome display, development of new scaffolds (the DARPin technology), and the directed evolution of G-protein coupled receptors towards high stability, which has allowed determination of several crystal and NMR structures of GPCRs.

In 2003 he was elected as member of the German Academy of Science (Leopoldina). His work has been published in over 400 papers, which have been cited over 36,000 times (h-index 109). He is an inventor on more than 20 patent families.

He is the winner of the 2016 Christian Anfinsen Award of the Protein Society for “pioneering contributions to protein engineering”. In 2005 he received, together with a team from Molecular Partners, the deVigier Award and the Swiss Technology Award. In 2002 he received the J. P. Morgan Chase Award of The Tech Museum of Innovation (San Jose, USA), the Wilhelm-Exner-Medal (Vienna, Austria) and The Jury’s Grand Prix of the European Grand Prix for Innovation Awards (Monaco). In 2000, he received the Karl-Heinz-Beckurts Award (Germany) and in 2001 he became a finalist in the World Technology Awards in the Biotechnology category. Before that, he received the Young Investigator's Award of the German Industry Fund and was elected member of EMBO.

He has founded 3 companies: in 1992, he co-founded the Munich biotech company MorphoSys AG (TecDAX: MOR).  In 2004 he co-founded the biotech company Molecular Partners AG in Zurich (SIX: MOLN). In 2014, he cofounded G7 Therapeutics, now divested to Heptares/Sosei.

He studied chemistry at the University of Heidelberg (Germany) and received his graduate education at the University of California at San Diego, where he obtained a Ph.D. in 1982 with Prof. Edward Dennis. He was a postdoctoral fellow at the Chemistry Department of Harvard University (1982-85) where he worked with Prof. Jeremy Knowles. From 1985 until 1993, he was group leader at the Genzentrum and Max-Planck-Institut für Biochemie in Martinsried (Germany). He was appointed to the faculty of the University of Zürich (Switzerland) as a Full Professor of Biochemistry in 1993, and now heads the department.

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