Gerhard Wagner was born in Bor, Czech Republic and grew up in Southern Bavaria. After attending a Humanistic Gymnasium and military service he studied Physics at the Technical University Munich. For his diploma thesis he applied the Mössbauer effect on iron-containing proteins. He obtained his Ph.D. from the ETH Zürich in 1977 with NMR studies of protein dynamics. Subsequently he worked on methods for protein resonance assignment and structure determination. From 1987 to 1990 he was a faculty at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor where he developed triple-resonance methods for protein assignments. He also developed procedures for studies of protein dynamics. Since 1990 he is Professor of Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology at Harvard Medical School. His current interests are on eukaryotic translation initiation, transcriptional activation and membrane proteins in micelles and nanodiscs. A major effort is on discovery and characterization of small molecule inhibitors of protein-protein interactions. He is also strongly interested in further development of NMR methods and procedures for advanced sampling and data reconstruction. He is married to Elisabeth C. Wagner and has a daughter Barbara and a son Andreas.

Research Interests

My current research is on revealing mechanisms of eukaryotic translation initiation based on structural studies. The focus is on the interactions of initiation factors constituting the eIF4F complex (eIF4E, eIF4A and eIF4G), and their interactions with other factors and mRNA. This includes discovery of small molecule inhibitors of interactions between initiation factors, their potential use as anti-cancer agents, or as tool compounds to reveal mechanisms. Another area of current interest is on membrane proteins placed in phospholipid nanodiscs as near-native membrane surrogates. This includes G-protein coupled receptors and proteins from the outer mitochondrial membrane, such as the Voltage-Dependent Anion Channel (VDAC). A third topic of interest includes structural and functional studies of T-cell proteins that transmit activating signals through the plasma membrane and into the nucleus.

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Primary Section

Section 29: Biophysics and Computational Biology

Secondary Section

Section 21: Biochemistry