Harald zur Hausen was born on March 11, 1936 in Gelsenkirchen-Buer, Germany. He studied Medicine at the Universities of Bonn, Hamburg and Düsseldorf and received his M.D. in 1960. After his internship he received the license to practice medicine and worked as a postdoc at the Institute of Microbiology in Düsseldorf, subsequently in the Virus Laboratories of the Children’s Hospital in Philadelphia where he was later appointed as Assistant Professor. After a period of 3 years as a senior scientist at the Institute of Virology of the University of Würzburg, he was appointed in 1972 as Chairman and Professor of Virology at the University of Erlangen-Nürnberg. In 1977 he moved to a similar position to the University of Freiburg. From 1983 until 2003 he was appointed as Scientific Director of the Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum (German Cancer Research Center) in Heidelberg. He retired from this position in 2003.
He received a number of national and international awards, among them the Robert-Koch-Price, the Charles S. Mott Price of the General Motors Cancer Research Foundaton, the Federation of the European Cancer Societies Clinical Research Award, the Paul-Ehrlich-Ludwig Darmstädter-Price, the Jung-Price, Hamburg, the Charles Rudolphe Brupbacher Price, Zürich, the Prince Mahidol Award, Bangkok, the Raymond Bourgine Award, Paris, the Coley-Award, New York, the Life Science Achievement Award of the American Association for Cancer Research, San Diego, and the Nobel-Prize for Medicine, 2008.
He received 37 honorary doctorates from the Universities of Chicago, USA, Umeå, Sweden, Prague, Czech Republic, Salford and Warwick, both UK, Helsinki, Finland, Erlangen-Nürnberg and Würzburg, both Germany, Ferrara, Italy, Melbourne, Australia, Buenos Aires, Argentine, Salerno, Italy, Warsaw, Poland, Madrid, Spain, Bucamaranga, Columbia, Los Angeles, USA, Jerusalem, Israel, Besancon, France, Valdivia and Santiago de Chile, Chile, Ljubljana, Slovenia, Antwerp, Belgium, Pisa, Italy, New York, USA, Ioanina, Greece, Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Vietnam, Porto Allegre, Brazil, Athens, Greece, Guadalajara, Mexico, Patras, Greece, Moscow, Nishny Nowgorod and Tomsk, Russia, Pleven, Bulgaria, Cluj-Napoca, Romania, Kiev, Ukraine, Macau, China, Yerevan, Armenia.
He is an elected member of various academies (LEOPOLDINA, Heidelberg Academy of Sciences, Polish Academy of Sciences, Venezuela National Academy of Medicine, American Philosophical Society, Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences (USA), Foreign member of the US National Academy of Sciences and research organizations (EMBO, HUGO), National Academy of Sciences, USA, and became an Honorary Member of a number of biomedical scientific societies. A large number of Special Lectures and Visiting Professorships, Memberships in Editorial Boards and active involvements in the organization of international meetings complement his curriculum.
From 1989-1991 he was chairing the Association of Natonal Research Centres, in Bonn, Germany. From 1993-1996 he was President of the Organization of European Cancer Institutes. From 2000-2009 zur Hausen was Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal of Cancer, and from 2006-2009 he was member of the Board of Directors of the International Union against Cancer (UICC). From 2003-2009 he was Vice-President of the German National Academy for Natural Sciences and Medicine LEOPOLDINA in Halle. From 2006 to 2015 he was a memberof the National Science Tansfer and Development Agency in Bangkok, Thailand.
Photo: Copyright: Source: DKFZ T. Schwerdt