Karin Moelling on Max Delbruck
  Karin Moelling     Biography    
Recorded: 06 Jun 2006

Max Delbruck he is really, his contribution to research is really outrageous and incredible and he’s also very, he was an incredible man. I met him, very often he wasn’t extensive, an external member but with the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Biology, of the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Genetics. I met Max Delbruck several times in Berlin because he was a so-called external member of the Max Planck Institute where I worked for molecular genetics. So, he came every year together with his wife Manny, sometimes with one of the son’s. And they wanted to know what science was like and we went out for dinner but he also took Hank Schuster, who was one of the director’s in those days and myself, we went to see a woman he was very much supporting, that’s an artist by the name Joan[?] Lennon and she lived in a very small place she had to [unintelligible] downtown Berlin and she made it through the whole war. And I think the Delbruck’s very happily supported her, made her survive, we heard about letters, and she was grateful for getting a coat from Max’s, it was much too big, she was a small person and he bought her arts, probably to support her. We all bought some pictures; I do also have some paintings from her. So, he was very loyal and a constant person, very helpful. Another thing he was doing, his personal subscription of the proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences he sent every single month to the so-called Berlin-Buch, which is now called the Max Delbruck Center. He was, the person who received this issue every month, spread it around, you had [unintelligible] and he suggested the name, so the Max Delbruck Center got this name because of [unintelligible] because of his PAS issue which he always sent to Berlin. He did this for ten, ten to twenty years and they had no copy of this in the whole East Germany so that went around the whole country and anybody that could get a hold of it read it. So that is something which characterizes Max Delbruck quite well. He was brought up as one of, I don’t know, ten children in Berlin. So, he was very strict. He was not, he was very direct and was telling the truth. That’s how Berlinist’s are and that’s not easy for some people in the surrounding, but that was him. Maybe that’s me sometimes, which is not so easy, but yeah. He talked, he liked to talk about science, yeah, yeah. He never talked about the things around science. He talked about science itself; what are you doing and this. He could immediately jump into other peoples thinking and ask relevant questions, which characterizes a good mind. Yeah. No gossip. He was very science oriented.

Karin Moelling currently retired professor, still affiliated with the University of Zurich and the Max-Planck-Institute for Molecular Genetics in Berlin. She studied molecular biology at the University of Berkely, Califonia. She received her PhD at the Max-Planck-Institute for Virology at Tübingen in Germany. She did two post-doctoral research at the Robert Koch Institute in Berlin (1973-1975), and at the Institute of Virology, University Giessen. In 1977 she received her Habilitation at the University of Giessen in Biophysics on "Replication of retroviruses".

From 1976 till 1981 she was the Head of Independent Research Group at Max-Planck-Institute for Molecular Genetics in Berlin, Germany, on oncogenes, proto-oncogenes, cancer and HIV. In 1993 she became the Director of Institute of Medical Virology (IMV) and Full Professor at University of Zurich in Switzerland, she held this position till 2008. Between 2008-2009 she was Fellow of Institute of Advanced Study in Berlin and between 2008-2011 she became a Group Leader, Viruses and Cancer at University of Zurich.

Her research focus on retroviruses and cancer from molecular mechanisms to drug design. She is a Member of the European Molecular Biology Organization. She received several awards e.g. SwissAward in 2007, 4 prices: Czerny Price, Richtzenhain Price, Meyenburg Price and Ansman Price. She was Selected as Heisenberg Fellow in German Science Foundation.