My studies of Organic Chemistry at the Technical University of Braunschweig were concluded with the Diploma (Hans-Herloff Inhoffen). The subsequent PhD thesis (Hans Brockmann Jr.) at the GBF (then: GMBF, Gesellschaft für Molekularbiologische Forschung) was
devoted to the stereochemistry of natural products (chlorophylls) using classical as well as then novel spectroscopic and spectrometric methods (CD, MS, NMR).
Application of the same techniques to proteins was trained during 2 year postdoctoral studies at the department of Chemical Biology at the California Institute of Technology (CalTech) in Pasadena (Michael A. Raftery). My fields of interest were (and still are) the symmetry properties of oligomeric (allosteric) proteins including half-of-the-sites-activity phenomena. The functional part of these studies was supplemented by a
training period at the University of Oregon (Uof O) at Eugene which was devoted to the principles of enzyme kinetics and ligand binding studies by fluorescence spectroscopy (Sidney A. Bernhard). These
studies enabled a deeper molecular understanding of neurotransmission mediated by the acetylcholine receptor as isolated from Torpedo californica. They still are the basis for teaching students aspects of quantitative biology.
The atmosphere at CalTech anticipated the discovery of the nucleosome (James Bonner) and thereby the
fundamental packaging principle of eukaryotic genomes. The associated questions have occupied me ever since. Back at the GBF (Gesellschaft für Biotechnologische Forschung) studies on nucleosome dynamics were directed towards a deeper understanding of gene expression. Transgene studies clearly demonstrated the need of extensive
upstream and downstream sequences far beyond the promoter and terminator regions. Stimulated by evolving ideas about the domain structure and epigenetics of higher genomes I started to study the properties of chromatin domain borders. Pretty soon these studies showed that the responsible elements could be used for the design of novel integrating and episomal vectors for use in dedicated transgenic experiments. Cassette exchange methods (RMCE)
were developed to re-use tagged genomic loci with particular expression properties. During the years, a number of excellent students have taken over the various aspects of this work.
The obligatory “Eintritt in den Ruhestand”, valid April 1st 2009, was only a formal one. See my CV and understand!