Univ. Prof. Dr. Josef Penninger

Josef Martin Penninger, born 1964 in Gurten, Austria, is an Austrian geneticist and since 2003 scientific director of the IMBA (Institute of Molecular Biotechnology of the Austrian Academy of Sciences) in Vienna. He studied medicine, history of art and Spanish at the University of Innsbruck. From 1990 to 1994 he worked as post-doctoral fellow at the Ontario Cancer Institute, thereafter until 2003 at the Department of Immunology and Medical Biophysics at the University of Toronto (as Principal Investigator of Amgen). Among Penningers discoveries is the isolation of the principal gene responsible for the circadian rhythm in mice. He could also show that osteoporosis is a genetic disease which finally led to innovative treatment strategies. Furthermore, he made several breakthroughs in biomedical research including important contributions to the immunotherapy against cancer and insights into the critical mechanisms governing immunological defense. Penninger is currently focussed on stem cell research aiming to establish an international stem cell research center in Austria. Penninger publishes regularly in the most prestigious journals including  Cell, Nature und Science; he was Scientist of the Year (2003) as well as Austrian of the Year (2004), further he was awarded with the Descartes Prize (2006), the Ernst-Jung Prize (2007) and the Innovator Award of the US Department of Defense (2012) und most recently the famous Wittgenstein-Prize (2014).