Commander’s Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland for FNP Beneficiary prof. Klaus Hahlbrock

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Prof. Klaus Hahlbrock, a German researcher who works closely with the Polish scientific community, former vice-president of the Max Planck Society, has received the Commander’s Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland granted by the Polish President. The official presentation took place on 21 June 2013 at the Polish Consulate-General in Munich.

An official speech was delivered by the FNP’s president, Prof. Maciej Żylicz, PhD hab., who listed Prof. Hahlbrock’s many connections to Poland and also to the Foundation. The German scientist is a recipient of the FNP Honorary Distinction and the Polish Alexander von Humboldt Honorary Research Fellowship. Among the effects of the FNP’s collaboration with Prof. Hahlbrock is an agreement between the Foundation and the Max Planck Society under which the two institutions have planned 10 years of joint financing of an international research team from the exact and technical sciences, working first in Germany and then in Poland. Thanks to the commitment of Prof. Hahlbrock, who came up with the idea of a series of Polish-German conferences called Science & Art in Europe, the symposium Ecology & Biodiversity Research was held in Warsaw in 2010, organized jointly by the Polish Academy of Sciences, the Polish Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the Foundation for Polish Science.

The Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland is awarded to foreigners and Polish citizens permanently residing abroad whose activity has contributed significantly to international cooperation and to cooperation linking Poland to other countries and nations. Prof. Hahlbrock’s efforts deserve special mention, their aim being to develop cooperation between Polish and German scientists and researchers. Among other things, in 2001 a structural biology laboratory was set up at the International Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology in Warsaw, financed wholly by the Max Planck Society, while a laboratory financed from Polish funds was established at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics in Dresden.

Prof. Klaus Hahlbrock is a leading biochemist, molecular biologist, and plant pathologist. His scientific discoveries in the fields of plant metabolism, quantitative assessment of mRNA levels in plants, and regulation of the transcription of genes inducing plant defence against pathogens or stress conditions (e.g. UV radiation) have gained worldwide recognition. Prof. Hahlbrock is the author of 230 scientific works which have been cited 15,000 times.

Prof. Hahlbrock is a member of the Deutsche Akademie der Naturforscher Leopoldina (today the German National Academy of Sciences), Academia Europaea, a corresponding member of the American Society of Plant Physiologists, and a foreign member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences. He is also a member of the Scientific Council of the International Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology in Warsaw. He was vice-president of the Max Planck Society for the Advancement of Science in 1996-2002. He has received an Officer’s Cross First Class of the Federal Republic of Germany for distinguished service and many prestigious prizes and awards, including the Otto Bayer Award, the Tate & Lyle Award from the Phytochemical Society of Europe, and the Copernicus Medal from the Polish Academy of Sciences.