With great sadness, we received the news of the loss of our dear friend and colleague, Professor Hans-Dieter Klenk, who passed away on June 1, 2021 at the age of 82.
For many years, the Center for Molecular Medicine Cologne (CMMC) has been closely associated with Professor Hans-Dieter Klenk, especially through his engagement in the annual Ernst Klenk Symposia Series in Molecular Medicine and the Ernst Klenk Foundation, established by Professor Wilhelm Stoffel in honor of his father, Professor Ernst Klenk. The Ernst Klenk Symposia started in 1982 and have been hosted by the CMMC since 2004. The Ernst Klenk Symposia are highly appreciated by the international scientific community as an important scientific event where the latest developments in molecular medicine are discussed.
Professor Klenk was an outstanding and highly renowned virologist and the Director of the Institute of Virology in Marburg until his retirement as a Professor emeritus 2007.
His research focused on the structure and function of enveloped viruses, such as influenza viruses, paramyxoviruses, and filoviruses, with a special emphasis on the role of viral glycoproteins and RNA polymerase in the infection process, pathogenesis, and interspecies transmission. His research also formed the basis for the development of vaccines and antiviral drugs against the Ebola virus and other important pathogens. He was also a key driver in the then emerging field of RNA virology in Germany and recognized the importance of zoonotic viruses from very early on. He was an author of more than 400 scientific publications and received numerous awards.
For his commitment to and his engagement in the CMMC, we will always remember Professor Hans-Dieter Klenk with great gratitude and fond memories. We will miss him.
On behalf of the CMMC, I would like to send our deepest condolences to Professor Klenk´s family and relatives in this time of grief.
Professor Thomas Benzing
Director - Center for Molecular Medicine Cologne