Heinz A. Staab
Former Vice president
Genetics & Molecular Biology
Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics
United States of America
This is how Heinz A. Staab summed up his defining experiences as a scientist, and his understanding of the tradition and mandate of the Max Planck Society in 1986 on the 75th anniversary of the founding of the Kaiser Wilhelm Society. His own scientific interests matured in the course of his studies at Marburg, Tübingen and Heidelberg and led him to obtain doctorates in both chemistry and medicine. Hans Meerwein, Rolf Huisgen, Adolf Butenandt and Georg Wittig were among his academic teachers. Special perspectives on science and its organisation are connected with Richard Kuhn and the Max Planck Institute for Medical Research in Heidelberg. Having been appointed to Heidelberg University in 1962, Staab assumed responsibility for continuity and change in particularly stormy times as Dean of the Faculty of Mathematics and Science in 1968 and the Vice Chancellor of Heidelberg University in 1969. His more than ten-year involvement with the committees of the German Research Foundation began at the same time. As Chairman of the Research Committee, he contributed to the dialogue between science and politics in the German Science Council from 1976 to 1979 in a bid to help alleviate the pressures on the university and to overcome the looming financial stagnation for the research world. The Max Planck Society appointed him a Scientific Member in 1974 and Director of the Organic Chemistry Department at the Max Planck Institute for Medical Research in Heidelberg. More than two decades of continuous publications at the MPI are evidence of his successful research work.
Molecular Biology, Neurobiology