Franz-Ulrich Hartl received an MD and a PhD in biochemistry from Heidelberg University in 1985. He then worked with Walter Neupert in Munich on protein import into mitochondria. In 1988, Hartl began studies on the role of molecular chaperones in protein folding. After a stay in William Wickner’s laboratory at UCLA, he received his Habilitation at Munich University and then joined the department of James Rothman at Sloan-Kettering Institute in New York. Between 1991 and 1997, he worked mainly on protein folding in the bacterial and eukaryotic cytosol. In 1993, Hartl was promoted to member with tenure and in 1994 became an HHMI Investigator.
In 1997, he returned to Munich to become a director at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry. There he initiated research into neurodegenerative diseases caused by protein misfolding and aggregation.
Dr. Hartl has won several national and international awards and is a member of the National Academy of Sciences.