F. Ulrich Hartl

Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry

2020 Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences

For discovering functions of molecular chaperones in mediating protein folding and preventing protein aggregation.


Receiving the Breakthrough Prize is a fantastic honor and I am delighted to share this recognition with my early collaborator Art Horwich. I am immensely grateful to the jury for recognizing the advances of our field in understanding the cellular machineries of protein folding and quality control and their central importance in health and disease. I would like to thank the many talented students and postdocs who worked with me over the years, and especially my wife and partner in science, Manajit. Having found her is certainly my most important discovery. I have also been very lucky in having great mentors at different stages of my career, including the late Walter Neupert in Munich, Bill Wickner at the University of California, Los Angeles, and Jim Rothman at the Sloan Kettering Institute in New York. Finally, let me thank the Breakthrough Foundation for shining the spotlight on basic research. Clearly, there is only one solution for our world’s problems – more science.

F. Ulrich Hartl

Ceremony Acceptance Video

Breakthrough Prize Symposium Talks