Press release

02.05.2018

Unlocking the secrets of the cell

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Dekan Prof. Dr. Axel R. Pries überreicht Prof. Dr. Markus Ralser die Urkunde zum Dienstantritt an der Charité.
Prof. Dr. Axel R. Pries (Dean) and Prof. Dr. Markus Ralser. Copyright Charité/Baar

Prof. Dr. Markus Ralser joined CharitéUniversitätsmedizin Berlin on 1 May, taking up his new appointment as Einstein Professor in Biochemistry. An internationally renowned expert in biochemistry and metabolism, Prof. Ralser is a valuable addition to basic research at Charité, also taking on the role of Head of the Institute of Biochemistry. Prof. Ralser's appointment is supported by the Einstein Foundation’s Einstein Professorship Program.

The term ‘cellular metabolism’ refers to the sum of all processes with which the cell produces the energy and molecular building blocks necessary to sustain life. The cell produces everything it needs, including proteins required for muscle tissue, lipids and carbohydrates for energy storage, hormones, and the ‘alphabet’ of letters used to write our genetic code. Metabolic changes can have major effects on the entire organism, particularly when they occur either as a cause of a disease or as an effect of a disease. Metabolic changes have been extensively researched within the biomedical sciences. However, our understanding of the precise origins of such changes is less advanced and, in many cases, we do not know how to treat them.

Prof. Ralser’s research is aimed at improving our understanding of fundamental metabolic functions that occur at a cellular level: how does a cell manage to successfully regulate thousands of metabolic reactions, which occur at the same time and in the same place; which mechanisms involved in regulating metabolic processes have been overlooked; and which of them might be targeted as part of future treatments? Discussing the significance of his area of expertise, Prof. Ralser explains: “Metabolism research has become a hot topic, exerting a major influence on biotechnology, cancer research, immunology, and the rather broad field of metabolic disorders.” “We have gained access to new technologies over the past few years. We are developing techniques that are capable of accurately measuring metabolic differences in thousands of samples. I think it is now time for us to take the next step and to start transferring our knowledge and technology into clinical practice. Joining the most research-intensive medical faculty in Germany is an incredibly attractive opportunity for a researcher like myself.”

Prof. Dr. Axel Radlach Pries, Dean of CharitéUniversitätsmedizin Berlin, welcomes this prestigious appointment, which will strengthen the faculty’s research base: “Given its pool of young talent, medical biochemistry at Charité is in very a strong position right now. I believe the next few years will bring exciting developments. Markus Ralser will add new momentum to what is already a dynamic field.” Prof. Britta Eickholt, Head of Charité’s Basic Medical Research Center adds: “Prof. Ralser’s appointment, which was made possible thanks to the support of the Einstein Foundation, means the Institute of Biochemistry gains an outstanding, internationally renowned expert in metabolism research. We are pleased to see our research base strengthened by the addition of such an exciting and applied science-based area of research.”

Short bio: Markus Ralser was born in South Tyrol in 1980. He studied genetics and molecular biology at the University of Salzburg and completed his doctorate at the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics (MPIMG) in Berlin. After spending a number of years as a Junior Research Group Leader at the MPIMG, he became Group Leader at the University of Cambridge in 2011 and later at the Francis Crick Institute in London in 2013. Prof. Ralser’s numerous awards include the Wellcome Trust Investigator Award in the life sciences, the European Research Council starting grant, the European Molecular Biology organization Young Investigator Award, and the Biochemical Society’s Colworth Medal.

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Institute of Biochemistry

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Prof. Dr. Markus Ralser
CharitéUniversitätsmedizin Berlin         
t: +49 30 450 528 142



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