Strategic Communication and Public Relations

Michael Boutros to become acting DKFZ Chairman and Scientific Director

No. 39 | 01/09/2015 | by Sel

The DKFZ Board of Trustees has confirmed today that Professor Michael Boutros will become acting Chairman and Scientific Member of the Management Board of the German Cancer Research Center (Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum, DKFZ). He will be temporary successor to Professor Otmar D. Wiestler, who is assuming the position of President of the Helmholtz Association in Berlin on September 1, 2015. Boutros will be leading the DKFZ jointly with its Administrative-Commercial Director, Professor Josef Puchta.

Prof. Dr. Michael Boutros

Michael Boutros heads the Division of Signaling and Functional Genomics at the DKFZ and holds a professorship at Heidelberg University.

Michael Boutros and his team are focusing on the study of cellular pathways that play a role in carcinogenesis if they are dysfunctional. In order to understand the complicated networks, he uses human cells as well as various model organisms. Boutros has developed several so-called “high-throughput” methods that are used to investigate the functions of thousands of genes simultaneously. This enables him to observe the impact of single interfering factors on various signaling pathways or whole networks. His department is also pursuing research on new “genome editing” methods that are used to both study or reverse mutations in cancer cells.

Michael Boutros studied biology and biochemistry with a fellowship of the “Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes” at the Universities of Aachen, Witten/Herdecke and New York, and subsequently did his PhD at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg. With a scholarship from the German Research Foundation (DFG), he then worked as a postdoc at Harvard Medical School in Boston, USA. In 2003, he joined the DKFZ, where he built up a “tenure track” junior research group with the support of the DFG Emmy Noether Program. Since 2008, he has been a professor at the University of Heidelberg and a departmental head at the DKFZ. In 2007, Boutros received the Johann Zimmermann Cancer Research Award; in 2012, he was awarded a €2.5 million Advanced Grant by the European Research Council (ERC). Since 2013, he has been an elected member of the European Molecular Biology Organisation (EMBO). Supported by a McCloy Academic Scholarship, Boutros additionally received a “Master of Public Administration (MPA)” from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University in 2001. He also participated in a program of the Leadership Academy of the Helmholtz Association.

Michael Boutros is married and has a daughter.

A picture of Michael Boutros is available for download at:

The German Cancer Research Center (Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum, DKFZ) with its more than 3,000 employees is the largest biomedical research institution in Germany. More than 1,300 scientists at the DKFZ investigate how cancer develops, identify cancer risk factors and search for new strategies to prevent people from developing cancer. They are developing new methods to diagnose tumors more precisely and treat cancer patients more successfully. The DKFZ's Cancer Information Service (KID) provides patients, interested citizens and experts with individual answers to all questions on cancer.

Jointly with partners from the university hospitals, the DKFZ operates the National Center for Tumor Diseases (NCT) in Heidelberg and Dresden, and the Hopp Children's Tumour Center KiTZ in Heidelberg. In the German Consortium for Translational Cancer Research (DKTK), one of the six German Centers for Health Research, the DKFZ maintains translational centers at seven university partner locations. NCT and DKTK sites combine excellent university medicine with the high-profile research of the DKFZ. They contribute to the endeavor of transferring promising approaches from cancer research to the clinic and thus improving the chances of cancer patients.

The DKFZ is 90 percent financed by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research and 10 percent by the state of Baden-Württemberg. The DKFZ is a member of the Helmholtz Association of German Research Centers.


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