Michael Reth, PhD received his Diploma in Biology and PhD in Genetics in the laboratory of Prof. K. Rajewsky at the University of Cologne, Germany. After completing a post-doctoral stay in the laboratory of Dr. F. Alt in the department of biochemistry at Columbia University, New York, USA, he joined the Cologne Institute of Genetics as a junior group leader in 1985. In 1989 Nobel Prize winner, Prof. Dr. Georges Köhler, invited Reth to join him as an Associate Professor at the Max Planck Institute of Immunobiology. In 1995 Reth became the first professor of the newly created chair for molecular Immunology in the Faculty of Biology at the University of Freiburg. Reth has published his work in over 210 journal articles and reviews and has received many awards, including the Heinz Maier-Leibnitz Prize (1988) and the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize (1995) from the DFG, the EFIS-Schering-Plough Prize (2009), and the Paul Ehrlich and Ludwig Darmstaedter Prize in 2014. He is a member of the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO) and of the National Academy Leopoldina (Germany). In 2012 he was awarded an advanced ERC grant from the European Research Council (ERC). Michael Reth is an honorary member of the American Association of Immunologists.

Research Interests

Michael Reth is currently Professor of Molecular Immunology at the University of Freiburg and Director of the excellence cluster for biological signaling studies (BIOSS) and has over 200 peer-reviewed publications. He discovered the signaling subunits (CD79a and CD79b) of the B cell antigen receptor (BCR) and the immunoreceptor tyrosine-based activation motif (ITAM). In 2010 he and his colleague Dr. Yang proposed with the "dissociation activation model" (DAM), a new model for the antigen-dependent activation of B cells. His current work on the nanoscale organization of the B plasma membrane provides further evidence for the DAM and the oligomeric structure of the resting BCR. Furthermore, he is using approaches of synthetic biology to rebuild and better understand biological signaling processes.

Membership Type

International Member

Election Year


Primary Section

Section 43: Immunology and Inflammation

Secondary Section

Section 41: Medical Genetics, Hematology, and Oncology