Rudolf Jaenisch
Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, USA

Rudolf Jaenisch received his M.D. from the Universtiy of Munich, Germany, in 1967. From 1968 to 1972 he was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Biochemistry in Munich (Germany), at the Princeton University (USA) and at the Institute for Cancer Research in Philadelphia (USA). Between 1972 and 1977 Rudolf Jaenisch was an Assistant Research Professor at the Salk Insitute in La Jolla, USA. In 1977 he moved back to Germany to become the Head of the Department of Tumor Virology at the Heinrich Pette Institute for Experimental Virology and Immunology in Hamburg. Since 1984 Rudolf Jaenisch is a member of the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research in Boston, USA, and also a professor for Biology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston. He is also a founding member of the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research. Rudolf Jaenisch and his lab has made major contributions to modern epigenetics since its early days. This interest comes from observations in the 1970s where he discovered that the expression of retroviral genes with strong promoters is silenced in murine embryonic stem cells compared to somatic cells. Rudolf Jaenisch showed that methylation of cytosine residues in the viral promoters is correlated with the inactivation of gene activity. Since then, the Jaenisch lab is one of the driving forces of modern epigenetic research to understand the molecular mechanisms that affect how genetic information is converted into cell structures without altering the genes itself. More recently, the Jaenisch lab reported successfully the generation of "induced pluripotent stem" (IPS) cells from cells of an adult mouse-tail. Rudolf Jaenisch received numerous prizes and recognitions among those are the Robert Koch Prize for Excellence in Scientific Achievement (2002), the Brupracher Foundation Cancer Award (2003) and the Vilcek Prize (2007). Read more...