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Ernst Hadorn Professorships

The Ernst Hadorn Foundation awarded Professorships in the University of Zurich since 2001.


Lucas Pelkmans, Ernst Hadorn Chair 2011-2020

Lucas Pelkmans was born in the Netherlands and currently lives in Zurich. He studied Medical Biology at the University of Utrecht and did his PhD in Biochemistry at the ETH Zurich. He was then a postdoctoral fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics in Dresden, Germany. In 2005, he became assistant professor in Systems Biology at the ETH Zurich and was in 2010 was elected as the Ernst Hadorn-endowed Chair and promoted to full professor in Systems Biology at the University of Zurich He currently runs a large international lab that has pioneered the field of image-based systems biology. His ground-breaking work led him to be nominated to the MIT Technology Review top 35 of the world’s leading Young Innovators under 35 of age (TR35) and to be amongst the top 10 most-cited cell biologists in Europe. He was awarded the ETH medal, won the European Young Investigator Award, and received ERC junior, consolidator, and advanced grants. Lucas was chairman of the excecutive board of, the Swiss Initiative of Systems Biology, and is a member of the European Molecular Biology Organisation (EMBO). He is an inventor on several patents in multiplexed quantitative imaging and computer vision/machine learning and has co-founded the drug discovery company 3V-Biosciences (now Sagimet Biosciences), and the UZH spin-off Apricot Therapeutics that maps drug activity contexts across scales.


"The Ernst Hadorn Foundation-endowed chair was absolutely critical to the establishment of my research group at the University of Zurich as it provided a very generous research budget to pursue highly innovative and therefore inherently risky research at the interface of highly technical approaches involving high-throughput multiscale and multiplexed imaging, multivariate image analysis and machine learning. It also supported our research that led to the discovery of the first molecular regulators of intracellular phase separation, the DYRK-family of kinases.


Charles Weissmann is without doubt the most illustrious professor of our department. Charles founded the institute of molecular biology at the University of Zurich in 1967, and was its director until 1999. And although Charles had left more than 11 years ago when I was recruited, being the second Ernst Hadorn Chair in our institute after Michael Hengartner felt like having been bestowed with the honor of carrying the torch of Charles’ innovative spirit further. The current state of the field of image-based systems biology is very reminiscent of the state of molecular biology in the 1960s: a somewhat messy, chaotic but very exciting frenzy and that may be the birth of something new. I hope that through our contributions we have been able to continue Charles' spirit into this new era of biomedicine."

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