Prof. Dr. Veit Hornung and Prof. Dr. Eicke Latz are awarded the Leibniz Price

World’s most influential researchers awarded in the field of innate immune responses


Prof. Dr. Veit Hornung,
Genzentrum der LMU

Prof. Dr. Veit Hornung and Prof. Dr. Eicke Latz share the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz-Price of the German Research Foundation , which is endowed with 2.5 million euros, as two of the world’s most influential researchers in the field of innate immune responses. Their seminal papers on cytosolic sensing, which uniquely complement one another, have contributed to the international advancement of this area of research.
Veit Hornung became interested in core questions relating to innate immunity early on in his career. He studied the molecular basis of nucleic acid sensing in the cytoplasm, the cell substance enclosed by the membrane. He identified the first specific, virus-derived ligand, which is detected in the cytoplasm, and characterized innate immune receptors, which function inside the cell. These mechanisms are part of the complex innate immune response; their discovery is not only ground-breaking in basic research but also has useful applications in immunotherapy. As such, Hornung’s work has also could also lay the foundations for the development of therapeutically effective immune modulators.
After studying human medicine, Hornung’s research interests began with his doctorate at LMU Munich. As a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester, he collaborated with Eicke Latz, who now shares the Leibniz Prize with him. In 2008 he was appointed Professor of Clinical Biochemistry at the University of Bonn before returning to LMU Munich to take up a professorship in 2015. Hornung already has multiple awards to his credit.