Renowned infectologist launches new "Infection Oncology" research group in Kiel
Professor Thomas F. Meyer has become a new senior professor at the Faculty of Medicine at Kiel University (CAU). CAU Vice President of Research Prof. Karin Schwarz, together with the Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, Prof. Joachim Thiery, and the PMI spokesperson, Prof. Stefan Schreiber, this Tuesday (1 September 2020) presented the internationally renowned infectologist and cancer researcher with the certificate of appointment. This senior professorship, lasting five years, honors selected, outstanding individuals with nationally and internationally acclaimed research achievements or particular teaching achievements. Meyer was most recently Director of the Molecular Biology Department at the Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology (MPIIB) in Berlin, and is now launching a new working group with a focus on "Infection Oncology" at the Institute of Clinical Molecular Biology (IKMB) at the CAU and the UKSH, and will conduct his research within the Cluster of Excellence "Precision Medicine in Chronic Inflammation" (PMI).
Meyer's scientific focus areas lie in researching the molecular mechanisms of bacterial and viral infections, the particular importance of host cells during an infection, the development of oral live vaccines and the concept of "host-directed therapy", as well as understanding the role of bacterial pathogens in the pathogenesis of cancer. Many of the discoveries from Meyer's laboratory are now included in standard textbooks. Meyer is this year's winner of the Robert Koch Gold Medal, one of the top scientific awards in the field of infection medicine. The Robert Koch prize winners enjoy high international esteem. Many of them have subsequently been honored with the Nobel Prize. With recently-awarded funding from the European Research Council (ERC Advanced Grant), Meyer can continue his pioneering research on the role of infections in the pathogenesis of cancer in humans in Kiel in the coming years.
Thomas F. Meyer studied biology at Heidelberg University. In 1979 he received his doctorate there in natural sciences, graduating with distinction ('summa cum laude'). In 1980, he moved to Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in New York as a post-doc, where he teamed up with Magdalena So to initiate a project for researching the molecular mechanisms of the antigenic variation of bacterial surface proteins. He continued this highly-acclaimed work at the Public Health Research Institute of New York City in 1981, and then from 1982 onwards at the Max Planck Institute for Medical Research. In 1983, Meyer took on the position of group leader at the newly-founded Center for Molecular Biology at Heidelberg University (ZMBH), and in 1985 was appointed as research group leader at the Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology in Tübingen. In 1990, he was appointed director of the independent Department of Infection Biology at the Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology in Tübingen, which he led until the year 2000. In 1994, he was founding director of the new Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology (MPIIB) in Berlin, as head of the Molecular Biology Department. He is involved in various organizations, including serving as an elected member of the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO) since 1989 and the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina since 2003.