Franz Hofmann

Prof. Dr. med.

Former professor of pharmacology and toxicology
TUM School of Medicine

born May 21, 1942



Franz Hofmann’s research focuses on the structure and function of protein kinases and stretch-activated calcium and ion channels. A two-and-a-half-year interval spent in the laboratory of future Nobel Prize winner Edwin G Krebs in the USA strongly influenced the beginning of his later career. With his working group he was successful in making a series of important discoveries concerning the functioning of the intercellular neurotransmitters that control cellular functions and organ activity. Using biochemical, molecular biological and physiological methods, Franz Hofmann elucidated important cellular controlling functions and analyzed the function network of the neurotransmitters in the cells, their development and their effects. He did pioneering work in the area of the cAMP and cGMP protein kinase. He was also the first to explain the structure of several CA++ channel proteins in muscles and the heart. His research has wielded considerable influence in current heart and muscle physiology, extending even to general physiology. He is internationally regarded as one of the leading researchers in this area and receives funding from organizations such as the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, the Chemical Industry Fund, the Volkswagen Foundation as well as the European Union. Hofmann is the co-author of many pharmacological textbooks and co-publisher of numerous academic journals. He is an active participant in the grants committees of the German Research Foundation (DFG), the Wilhelm Sander Foundation and the Feldberg Foundation. Numerous awards and his extensive international acclaim attest to the exceptional quality of his research, which he still continues to pursue even after many years spent in retirement.


Short biography

1962 – 1968 Study of medicine, universities of Heidelberg, Munich and Berlin
1968 Doctorate, Heidelberg University
1973 – 1975 Assistant at the University of California Medical School, Davis, CA, USA
1975 – 1980 Assistant at the Pharmacological Institute, Heidelberg University
1981 – 1984 Professor of pharmacology, Heidelberg University
1985 – 1990 Professor of physiological chemistry, Saarland University
1992 – 1993 Founding director of the Leibniz Research Institute for Molecular Pharmacology, Berlin
1990 – 2008 Professor of pharmacology and toxicology, TUM


Memberships and honors

Member of the Wilhelm Sander Foundation (since 1991)

Honorary professor of Tongji Medical University, Wuhan, China (1998)

Member of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences and Humanities (BAdW) (since 2001)

Member of the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina (since 2007)

Member of the Academia Europaea (since 2003)

Honorary professor of the Shanghai Institute of Materia Medica, Chinese Academy of Sciences (2004)

Senator of the pharmacology as well as the physiology and pharmacology divisions of the Leopoldina (since 2007)

Member and chair (from 2002) of the board of trustees of the University Leipzig (2000-2008)

Director (2007-2010) and chairman of the board of directors (2010-2012) of the Feldberg Foundation

Spokesperson (1990) and deputy spokesperson (1986-1989) for the German Research Foundation (DFG)


Research projects

Collaborative Research Center (SFB) 246: Protein phosphorylation and intracellular control of membrane processes

Spokesperson for the DFG’s Collaborative Research Center (SFB) 391: Mechanisms of rapid cell activation (1995-2007)

Spokesperson for the DFG’s research unit FOR 923: Molecular dissection of cardiovascular functions (2007-2010)  



  • Max Planck Research Award (2002)
  • Aschoff Prize, Medical Society of Freiburg (2002)
  • Feldberg Award (2003)
  • Officer’s Cross of the Federal Republic of Germany (2004)
  • Harry van Dyke Award, Columbia University, New York, (2006)
  • Bavarian Order of Merit (2008)

You can download "Explanations of honors and awards" here [PDF 215 KB]