Günther Wess has been the scientific director of Helmholtz Zentrum München since 2005. His major achievements include the long-term scientific development and strategic focus of the Center. Under his leadership, research at the Center has increasingly been focused on combating major diseases. In a number of areas the Center has gained international renown.
The unique orientation of the Center to focus health research on major diseases in the population (diabetes, lung diseases, allergies, asthma) and to take into account both environmental and genetic influences, is largely based on his vision. As a consequence, diabetes research at Helmholtz Zentrum München is now among the best in the world.
In addition, Wess, who holds a doctorate in chemistry, is always keen to promote young talent: for years, he has worked specifically on the attractiveness of the location for the next generations of researchers, launched corresponding funding programs and attracted numerous top scientists to the Bavarian state capital.
"The Bavarian Order of Merit and the admission to the exclusive group of Order members means a lot to me personally: as recognition of my work for the medicine of the future, but also as a sign of appreciation by the state of Bavaria, which has become my new adopted homeland over the years," said Wess. "I believe we have created a crystallization point here for outstanding health research from which Munich and the region will benefit greatly in the long term.“
A career dedicated to health research
Günther Wess, born in 1955, earned his doctorate in chemistry in 1982. After a research stay in the laboratory of Nobel Prize Laureate Elias J. Corey, he held various global management positions in pharmaceutical research and development.
Parallel to his work in the pharmaceutical industry, Wess completed his habilitation in 1999 at the University of Mainz in the Department of Chemistry and Pharmacy. One year later, the University of Frankfurt awarded him an honorary professorship, which was to be followed by another at Technische Universität München in 2008. Since 2008, Wess has also been a member of the German Academy of Engineering Sciences acatech, and from 2013 to 2016 he was Vice President of the Helmholtz Association and responsible for the coordination of the research area Health.