Prof. Dr. Wieland Huttner, one of the founding directors of the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics in Dresden (MPI-CBG)and Member of the Board of DRESDEN-concept, was awarded the Saxon Order of Merit on September 11, 2018. He receives this highest award of the Free State of Saxony for his commendable work over the past 20 years, which has contributed significantly to the successful development of Dresden and Saxony as a top location for science. Prof. Dr. Huttner is also honored for his great achievements in the training of young researchers.
Prof. Dr. Wieland Huttner receives the award especially in recognition of the fact that due to the great commitment of the Max Planck Institutes in Dresden and in particular of Prof. Huttner the Technische Universität Dresden has been so successful in the Excellence Initiative of the federal and state governments. Prof. Huttner also plays a central role in the cooperation within the framework of DRESDEN-concept – an alliance of the TU Dresden with partners from science and culture with the aim of making the excellence of Dresden's research visible. He is one of the founding fathers of DRESDEN-concept as well as vice chairperson.Prof. Dr. Huttner has contributed tremendously to the training of young researchers. Upon his initiative, the Max Planck Society founded one of Germany's first "International Max Planck Research School" in Dresden in 2001. This school was the role model for the DIGS-BB graduate school at the TU Dresden, which was granted in 2006 in the framework of the Excellence Initiative. Prof. Dr. Huttner enjoys international recognition for his groundbreaking research, such as the discovery of genes that regulate the number of neurons in the human brain, and for his contributions that explain the extraordinary size of the human brain compared to other primates.Born on February 15, 1950 in Hannover, Prof. Dr. Wieland Huttner studied medicine in Hamburg and Oxford. He completed his MD at the Hamburg University in 1976, and worked as a postdoc at both the Max Planck Institute for Experimental Medicine and at Yale University. In 1981, he became head of a junior research group at the Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry, and group head at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory in Heidelberg in 1985. Wieland Huttner served as Professor and Chair at the Institute for Neurobiology at Heidelberg University (1991-2000), and was thereafter appointed as one of the four Founding Directors of the MPI-CBG in 1998. Wieland Huttner is Honorary Professor for Neurobiology at the Technische Universität Dresden and acted as chair of the Scientific Council of the Max Planck Society 2009-2012.The Saxon Order of Merit is the highest award of the Free State of Saxony. In addition to Prof. Dr. Huttner, 16 other individuals will receive the Order of Merit this year. The Saxon Order of Merit was donated in 1996 and was awarded for the first time on 27 October 1997. It is awarded to people who have made an outstanding contribution to the Free State of Saxony and its citizens. Extraordinary achievements, in particular in the political, social, cultural or economic fields as well as in the field of the environment, are criteria for an award. In total, the number of living award holders may not exceed 500.