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Prof. Dr.
Nikolaus Pfanner

Institute of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Department Biochemistry I
Head of Department
Phone: 0049-761-203-5223


  • 1978-1984 Studies of Medicine, University of Munich
  • 1985/86 and 1988/89 Postdoctoral/Research fellow in Munich and Princeton (USA)
  • 1987-1992 Group Leader at the University of Munich
  • Since 1992 Full Professor (C4) and Director of Department  Biochemistry I, University of Freiburg
  • 2002 Max Planck Research Award
  • 2004 Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize
  • 2008 Research Award of the State of Baden-Württemberg
  • 2014 Stein & Moore Award (USA)

Focus of research

  • Sorting of proteins in cells
  • Biogenesis and architecture of cellular powerhouses (mitochondria)

Selected publications

  • Harbauer AB, Opalińska M, Gerbeth C, Herman JS, Rao S, Schönfi sch B, Guiard B, Schmidt O, Pfanner N*, Meisinger C*. Cell cycle-dependent regulation of mitochondrial preprotein translocase. Science. 2014; 346(6213):1109-13.
  • Chacinska A, Koehler CM, Milenkovic D, Lithgow T, Pfanner N. Importing mitochondrial proteins: machineries and mechanisms. Cell. 2009; 138(4):628-44.
  • Kutik S, Stojanovski D, Becker L, Becker T, Meinecke M, Krüger V, Prinz C, Meisinger C, Guiard B, Wagner R, Pfanner N, Wiedemann N. Dissecting membrane insertion of mitochondrial beta-barrel proteins. Cell. 2008; 132(6):1011-24.
  • Rehling P, Model K, Brandner K, Kovermann P, Sickmann A, Meyer HE, Kühlbrandt W, Wagner R, Truscott KN, Pfanner N. Protein insertion into the mitochondrial inner membrane by a twin-pore translocase. Science. 2003; 299(5613):1747-51.
  • Hill K, Model K, Ryan MT, Dietmeier K, Martin F, Wagner R, Pfanner N. Tom40 forms the hydrophilic channel of the mitochondrial import pore for preproteins. Nature. 1998; 395(6701):516-21.

Research methods

  • Cell-free analysis of protein transport
  • Characterization of isolated mitochondria