Combined Faculty of Mathematics, Engineering Sciences, and Natural SciencesHonorary Doctorate for Developmental Biologist Herbert Jäckle

Press Release No. 51/2022
15 June 2022

Combined Faculty of Mathematics, Engineering Sciences, and Natural Sciences pays tribute to Göttingen researcher as an eminent representative of his discipline

Developmental biologist Prof. Dr Herbert Jäckle is to receive an honorary doctorate from Heidelberg University’s Combined Faculty of Mathematics, Engineering Sciences, and Natural Sciences for his outstanding scientific achievements. Moreover, with this academic honour the Faculty specifically recognises his services to molecular cell and developmental biology in Heidelberg. Prof. Jäckle, whose research is based at the Max Planck Institute for Multidisciplinary Sciences – formerly Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry – in Göttingen, has long been closely associated with Heidelberg as a research location. The Rector of Ruperto Carola will confer the honorary doctorate at an award ceremony on 22 June 2022.

Herbert Jäckle

“In his area of research, Herbert Jäckle made groundbreaking discoveries about the early development of the fruit-fly Drosophila melanogaster,” says Heidelberg developmental biologist Prof. Dr Joachim Wittbrodt. In particular, Prof. Jäckle identified the molecular causes of known and induced mutants with his research studies. These findings have engendered new approaches, for example, to developing ways of treating diseases caused by defective genes and consequent organ malfunctioning. Prof. Jäckle is receiving an honorary doctorate on the proposal of the Faculty of Biosciences. On behalf of the Faculty, Prof. Wittbrodt will pay tribute to him as an outstanding representative of his discipline who remains connected to Heidelberg through intensive collaboration with colleagues in the same field.

Herbert Jäckle studied chemistry and biology at the University of Freiburg, where he also earned his doctorate in 1977. Post-doctoral research followed, at the University of Texas in Austin (USA), the European Molecular Biology Laboratory in Heidelberg, and what was then the Max Planck Institute for Virus Research in Tübingen, which later became the MPI for Developmental Biology. In 1984 he completed his habilitation in biology at the University of Tübingen. In 1988 he was appointed full professor of genetics at Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich. In 1991 Prof. Jäckle was appointed as director at the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in Göttingen. Furthermore, he played a major role from 2002 until 2014 in developing the Max Planck Society as vice-president of that association of research institutes. Today Prof. Jäckle heads an Emeritus Group at the MPI for Multidisciplinary Sciences. Since 1993 he has also held an honorary professorship at the University of Göttingen. Prof. Jäckle has received numerous awards from different countries for his scientific investigations.

Prof. Dr Bernhard Eitel, Rector of Heidelberg University, will open the honorary doctorate award ceremony and, as Vice-Dean of the Faculty of Biosciences, Prof. Dr Alexis Maizel will welcome those present. Prof. Wittbrodt, whose research takes place at the Centre for Organismal Studies, will give the laudatory address for Prof. Jäckle, who will then respond with a brief expression of gratitude to all participants. The Katharinen Quartet is providing a musical setting for the occasion with works by Bach and Haydn.

For newsrooms:

The award ceremony is open to the university public. It will take place in the Great Hall of the Old University, starting at 4 p.m. Media representatives are warmly invited to attend and report. Please call +49 6221 / 54-2311 or send an email to presse@rektorat.uni-heidelberg.de to register.