Nikolaus Pfanner studies protein sorting in cells and focuses on the biogenesis and assembly of mitochondria.
His research team performed the first comprehensive analysis of the proteome of an entire cell organelle (mitochondria), leading to the discovery of more than 200 new mitochondrial proteins.
He identified several novel pathways and machineries for the import of proteins into mitochondria and their assembly into oligomeric complexes.
His recent studies show that protein translocases do not act as independent units but are integrated into a network of machineries that function in bioenergetics, membrane morphology, signalling and protein quality control, revealing a higher level of organisation of cell organelles.
Klaus studied medicine in Munich and received his training in biochemistry and molecular cell biology in the laboratories of Walter Neupert (Munich) and James E. Rothman (Princeton).
Since 1992 he has been Professor of Biochemistry and Chair of the Institute of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of Freiburg, Germany.
He received the Max Planck Research Award, the Leibniz Prize, the Wilhelm Feldberg Prize, and the Stein & Moore Award.
From 2009 – 2011, he was President of the German Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.