German-Japanese Knowledge Exchange: High Honours for Motomu Tanaka
3 June 2014
Prof. Dr. Motomu Tanaka has been awarded the Philipp Franz von Siebold Award endowed with 50,000 euros. The biophysicist works across institutional boundaries at both Heidelberg University and Kyoto University in Japan. The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation bestows this honour on a Japanese academic for his outstanding contributions toward promoting academic exchange between Germany and Japan. Prof. Tanaka conducts research at Heidelberg University’s Institute for Physical Chemistry and the Institute for Integrated Cell-Material Sciences at Kyoto University. The award will be presented this Tuesday (3 June 2014) by Germany's Federal President at the Humboldt Foundation’s Annual Meeting in Berlin.
Motomu Tanaka (b. 1970) studied physical chemistry at Kyoto University, where he also received his doctorate. As a postdoc he worked at the Technical University of Munich, initially with support from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science and the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. In 2001 he became head of an independent junior research group there, which was funded by the German Research Foundation through the Emmy Noether Programme. After completing his habilitation in experimental physics, he was appointed professor of biophysical chemistry at Heidelberg University in 2005. His research work also took him to Finland, Denmark and the USA. An internationally renowned expert, Prof. Tanaka works in the field of biological physics, especially the physics of biological membranes and cells.
Prof. Tanaka was instrumental in the foundation of the German-Japanese University Consortium HeKKSaGOn, whose partners include Heidelberg University, the University of Göttingen, the Karlsruhe Institute for Technology as well as Kyoto University, Osaka University and Tohoku University. In 2013 he was appointed to the first HeKKSaGOn professorship at Kyoto University. As an organiser of workshops and bilateral symposia, Prof. Tanaka is committed to the academic and cultural exchange between the two countries. He further established an interdisciplinary network of German and Japanese scientists in the fields of mathematics, physics, biomedicine and chemistry.
The Philipp Franz von Siebold Award was donated by the Federal President of Germany during a state visit to Japan in 1978. The award is given annually to a Japanese academic for outstanding services in enhancing the mutual understanding of culture and society in Germany and Japan. The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation promotes academic cooperation between outstanding scientists and scholars from Germany and abroad.