Head of the Department of Molecular Genetics
German Institute of Human Nutrition, Germany
Wolfgang Meyerhof started his carrier with Walter Knöchel at the Institute for Molecular Biology and Biochemistry, Free University Berlin, Germany, where he earned his PhD investigating the role of repetitive DNA in the regulation of gene expression during embryonal development of clawed frogs. He continued his research with Dietmar Richter at the Institute of Cell Biochemistry and Clinical Neurobiology, University Hospital Eppendorf, Hamburg Germany, which led to the discovery of several neuropeptide and neurotransmitter receptors as well as their associated signal pathways. Since then he published numerous articles about structure, function and regulation of G protein-coupled receptors. For this work he received the GAY-LUSSAC/HUMBOLDT prize from the French minister for research in 2000. As head of the Department of Molecular Genetics, German Institute of Human Nutrition Potsdam-Rehbruecke, which he became in 1994, he investigates the sense of taste as a crucial factor for food preferences and ingestive behavior. He uncovered functional principles of taste receptors, discovered receptor specific taste modulators and identified genetic variability as determining parameter for perceptual differences in the population. For this work he received the International Flavors and Fragrances Award from the Association of Chemoreception Sciences in 2013 and the Excellence in Flavor Science Award from the Flavor and Extract manufacturers Association in 2014. Wolfgang Meyerhof is elected member of Leopoldina, the German National Academy of Science and president of the European Chemoreception Organization.