Hermann Wagner Ph.D.

Prof. Dr. med. Drs. h.c.

Former professor of microbiology
TUM School of Medicine

born May 20, 1941



Hermann Wagner’s main area of activity was the complex defense mechanisms of the congenital and adaptive immune systems. He was fascinated by the possibility of strengthening immunity to pathogens with continually improving methods of immunization. At the beginning of his academic career, Hermann Wagner was working on mechanisms to activate killer T cells and the role played by bacterial superantigens. He completed his research residency in Melbourne at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute in 1973 with a doctoral dissertation about T cell mediated immune responses. At TUM, he worked to make “infection immunology” one of the academic concentrations of the medicine department. In 1995 he was one of the first scientists to discover the importance of toll-like receptors (TLRs) for research into infections and immunology. Having published more than 370 works, Hermann Wagner is one of the most frequently cited immunologists in Europe. He has served as honorary president of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Immunologie (German Society for Immunology), dean of the School of Medicine at TUM and chair of the academic advisory council of the Interdisciplinary Center for Clinical Research in Würzburg (IZKF).


Short biography

1961 – 1968 Study of medicine, University of Tübingen
1967 Doctorate, University of Tübingen
1973 PhD, Melbourne University, Australia
1973 – 1978 Academic assistant, Institut für Mikrobiologie, University of Mainz
1978 – 1983 Professor at the Department of Microbiology, University of Mainz
1981 Consultant in microbiology and infectious disease epidemiology
1983 – 1989 Professor of medical microbiology and immunology, University of Ulm
1989 – 2008 Professor of medical microbiology, immunology and hygiene, TUM


Memberships an honors

Member of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation’s judging panel for immunology and medical microbiology (1980-1986)

Member of the German Society for Immunology advisory council (1983-1993)

Chair of the AIDS assessment group of the Federal German Ministry of Research and Technology (1987-1994)

Member of the WHO steering committee ARV (AIDS associated retrovirus) (1989)

Member of the academic advisory council of the National Research Center for Environment and Health (GSF), renamed the Helmholtz Center Munich (1989-1994)

President of the German Society for Immunology (1990-1992)

Member of the Federal German Ministry of Education and Research’s infectiology assessment group (1993-1997)

Member and former Chair of the academic advisory council of the Interdisciplinary Center for Clinical Research Würzburg (IZKF) (since 1997)

Honorary member of the German Society for Immunology (2005)

Member of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences and Humanities (BAdW) (since 2007)

Member of the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina (since 2008)


Research projects

Project supervisor for Collaborative Research Centers, Departement of Medicine, University of Mainz (1973-1983)

Founding member and spokesperson for Collaborative Research Center (SFB) 322: Lympho-hematopoiesis (1986-1989)

Head of the German Research Foundation research group: Immunobiology of bacterial mitogens (1991-1996)

Founding member of Collaborative Research Center (SFB) 391: Mechanisms of fast cell activation (1995-2007), project supervisor and member of board of management (1999-2010)

Founder of Collaborative Research Center (SFB) 456: Target structures for selective tumor interventions (1999-2007), project supervisor and member of board of management (1999-2010)

Founding member and member of the board of management of Collaborative Research Center (SFB) 576: Facultative microbial pathogenesis and innate immunity (2001-2011)

Projektleiter in DFB-Sonderforschungsbereichen der Fakultät für Medizin, Univ. Mainz (1973 – 1983)



  • Behring-Kitasato Prize, Japan (1988)
  • Honorary doctorate from the Julius Maximilian University, Würzburg (2001)
  • German Federal of Merit (2003)
  • Bavarian Order of Merit (2007)
  • Honorary doctorate from the University of Bonn (2013)

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