Tobias Bonhoeffer joins the Board of Governors of the Wellcome Trust

The Max Planck director will serve in one of the world's largest charitable foundations

July 07, 2014

The British Wellcome Trust is, after the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the world's largest charity supporting biomedical research. Every year, the Wellcome Trust invests more than 700 million pounds into biomedical research in order to improve human and animal health. The scientific directions and research fields into which the Wellcome Trust invests are by and large determined by its Board of Governors. It consists of six scientific and four non-scientific members, all of which are characterized by their outstanding achievements, their leadership qualities, and their commitment to society at large. Tobias Bonhoeffer, director at the Max Planck Institute of Neurobiology in Martinsried, is the first German scientist appointed as a member to the Wellcome Trust's Board of Governors.

"I am deeply honored and look very much forward to working for the Wellcome Trust", was Tobias Bonhoeffer's first reaction to his appointment. "It is one of the scientific institutions that I most respect worldwide." The charitable foundation supports biomedical basic research from single projects to the establishment of new research institutions, the transfer of technology, projects of public engagement as well as the understanding of medical research by linking them to art and culture. "I am thrilled and grateful to have this opportunity to contribute to new and exciting activities that will have a fundamental impact on science and therefore ultimately on society", says Tobias Bonhoeffer about his future task. During the next years, he will have regular meetings with the other governors in London to discuss current and future activities of the Wellcome Trust. Making such major decisions for a large scientific organization is not new to the 54-year old neurobiologist. He chaired the Biomedical Section of the Max Planck Society between 2008 and 2011 and he was therefore intimately involved in shaping the research directions of this major German research organization.

Tobias Bonhoeffer studied physics at the University of Tübingen (Germany). In 1988 he earned his PhD from the Max Planck Institute (MPI) for Biological Cybernetics and the University of Tübingen. As postdoc, he worked at the Rockefeller University in New York and at the Max Planck Institute for Brain Research in Frankfurt. In 1993, he became the head of an independent research group at the MPI of Psychiatry in Munich. Since 1998 he is director at the Max Planck Institute of Neurobiology in Martinsried where he investigates what happens in the brain, when it learns or forgets.

The Wellcome Trust was founded in 1936 by the heritage of the entrepreneur Sir Henry Wellcome. Its mission is to support the best minds and projects in biomedical research in order to improve the wellbeing of humans and animals.

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