Kavli Research & Enterprise Discussions (K.R.E.D)

Our Kavli Research and Enterprise Discussion (K.R.E.D) will be given by Wolfgang Baumeister.

Wolfgang Baumeister obtained his PhD from the University of Düsseldorf in 1973. 1981/82 he spent time at the Cavendish Laboratory in Cambridge, England as a Heisenberg Fellow. In 1982 he joined the Max-Planck-Institute of Biochemistry in Martinsried as a group leader. Since 1988 he is a Scientific Member of the MPG and Director of the Department of Structural Biology. He is a Honorary Professor at the Technical University of Munich in the departments of Physics and Chemistry. Since 2018 he is also a Distinguished Professor at ShanghaiTech University.

Professor Baumeister’s main interest is the development of new tools and methods for the structural characterization of molecules and cells. He is particularly interested in the development of cryo-electron tomography for structural studies of molecular and supramolecular structures in situ, i. e. in their native cellular habitats. A major focus of his work is the molecular machinery of protein degradation, in particular via the ubiquitin-proteasome pathway, and autophagy. He is a member of the German Academy of Sciences, Leopoldina, the US National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Wolfgang's talk is entitled "Cryo-Electron Tomography or the Power of Seeing the Whole Picture"

The abstract is below. 

Traditionally, structural biologists have approached cellular complexity in a reductionist manner by studying isolated and purified molecular components. This 'divide and conquer' approach has been highly successful, as evidenced by the impressive number of entries in the PDB.

However, awareness has grown in recent years that only rarely can biological functions be attributed to individual macromolecules. Most cellular functions arise from their acting in concert. Hence there is a need for methods developments enabling studies performed in situ, i.e. in unperturbed cellular environments. Sensu stricto the term 'structural biology in situ' should apply only to a scenario in which the cellular environment is preserved in its entirety.

Cryo electron tomography has unique potential to study the supramolecular architecture or 'molecular sociology' of cells. It combines the power of three-dimensional imaging with the best structural preservation that is physically possible to achieve. We have used this method to study the 26S proteasome in a number of cellular settings revealing their precise location, assembly and activity status as well as their interactions with other molecular players of the cellular protein quality control machinery.


Due to limited seating, Eventbrite registration is mandatory for the in person event.

The seminar will be available via Zoom as well, please see the details below:



Meeting ID: 952 0027 7788

Passcode: 127813


KRED Poster for Wolfgang Baumeister