Cofactor W₃: Gerald Lackner appointed to professorship

Two men hold a certificate towards the camera
Stefan Leible (right), President of the University of Bayreuth, presents Gerald Lackner (left) with the certificate of appointment. Source: Jürgen Rennecke/University of Bayreuth

As of September 1, Gerald Lackner is Professor of Biochemistry of Microorganisms at the University of Bayreuth. His chair is located in the new Faculty of Life Sciences: Food, Nutrition and Health at the Kulmbach Campus.

Gerald Lackner has a long history with Jena and the Leibniz-HKI. He studied biochemistry at the University of Jena and subsequently conducted his doctoral research in the department of Biomolecular Chemistry of Christian Hertweck at Leibniz-HKI. After postdoctoral positions with Dirk Hoffmeister at the University of Jena and as a Feodor Lynen Research Fellow at ETH Zurich, Lackner returned to Leibniz-HKI and established the Synthetic Microbiology Junior Research Group.

Lackner's group studies so-called cryptic biosynthetic gene clusters, i.e. gene clusters whose products are (still) unknown. To correlate these gene clusters with their associated metabolites, the group combines functional genomics with comparative metabolomics.

Lackner and his team achieved decisive breakthroughs, particularly in the field of cofactors from mycobacteria. They focused in particular on the coenzyme F420 and on mycofactocin. In addition to elucidating the biosynthesis and physiological function of these substances, they also looked at how they can be produced on a larger scale and thus made biotechnologically viable.

At the University of Bayreuth, Gerald Lackner will help establish the new Faculty of Life Sciences: Food, Nutrition and Health. "The development of the new campus of the University of Bayreuth in Kulmbach is an exciting project that will bring important impulses to the Upper Franconia region. I am pleased to be able to support the location with research and teaching in the field of food microbiology and biotechnology," Lackner said.

The Synthetic Microbiology Group at Leibniz-HKI will continue to complete ongoing projects until spring 2024.


Gerald Lackner