Karin Mölling

Karin Moelling

Karin Moelling

Prof. em. Prof. hc. Dr. rer. nat. Karin Moelling

Director em. of the Institute for Medical Virology
University of Zurich, Gloriastr. 32, CH-8006 Zurich, Switzerland


E-mail moelling@imm.uzh.ch
Phone +41 44 634 2700 (Reception)
Fax +41 44 634 4917
Mobile +49 172 32 74306 (Germany)
Mobile +41 79 8008337 (Switzerland)

Research Fellow at the Max-Planck-Institute for Molecular Genetics
Ihnestr.73, D-14195 Berlin, Germany

E-mail moelling@imm.uzh.ch
Mobile +49 172 32 74306 (Germany)
+41 79 8008337 (Switzerland)
Phone +49 30 8413-0 (Reception)
Fax +49 30 8413 1207


Karin Moelling was born in Northern Germany, trained as a physicist specialized in Nuclear Physics. She was trained at Berkeley, University of California, in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry. She took her PhD at the Max-Planck-Institute for Virology at Tübingen, Germany, and her Habilitation at the University of Giessen in Biophysics. She worked at the Robert Koch-Institute in Berlin, the Max-Planck-Institute for Molecular Genetics in Berlin. In 1993 she became Director and Professor of the Institute for Medical Virology at the University of Zurich and Head of the Viral Diagnostics Department of the University Hospital, which she increased 15-fold. She had to retire there and is still affiliated with the University of Zurich and the Max-Planck-Institute for Molecular Genetics in Berlin. She was Fellow at the Institute of Advanced Study at Berlin 2008/2009 and became Vice President of the Fellow Club.
Research Focus

Viruses, in particular retroviruses, and cancer, from molecular mechanisms to drug design. Replication of HIV, discovery of the retroviral RNase H, development of antiretroviral mechanisms driving HIV into suicide, and various oncogenes such as identification of Myc and Myb as nuclear transcription factors, and discovery of the Mil/Raf kinase as retroviral oncogene. Interest in signal transduction in normal and tumor cells, gene regulation, cell-cycle, transcription factors, PDZ domains, scaffold proteins, oncogenes in leukemias, lymphomas, cancer, gene medicine/therapy, vaccines, HIV/AIDS, Influenza, viruses in immune-suppression, antiviral drug design, silencing by siDNA. biotechnology, non-coding RNA, endogenous viruses, evolution of viruses.

Research Achievements

  • Discovery of retroviral RNase H for replication of retroviruses, as a component of the Reverse Transcriptase (3xNature)
  • Molecular mechanisms of cancer by retroviral oncogenes, discovery of the Myc and Myb proteins as a nuclear transcription factor (Nature,Cell).
  • Discovery of the signal transduction molecule Raf Kinase (Nature,PNAS)
  • Crosstalk Akt and Raf (2xScience)
  • Cliniclal trial Phase I with an HIV plasmid DNA vaccine (with Apollon and Centocor Co) in Zurich as Scientific Coordinator and co-developer of plasmid, protocol etc.
  • Clinical Trial Phase I/2a with plasmid DNA coding for cytokine as therapy of malignant melanoma in patients (with preclinical studies in horses), investigator-driven Clinical Trial in Zurich based on Results of KM et al, designed and organized as investigator-driven Clinical Trial by KM .
  • Development of a short hairpin-looped DNA against viral infections including HIV to prevent sexual transmission, Driving HIV into suicide (Nature Biotechnology (2007))


  • SwissAward in 2007
  • 4 prices (Czerny-, Richtzenhain-. Meyenburg-, Ansman Price,
  • Selected as Heisenberg Fellow, German Science Foundation
  • Member of the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO)
  • Core Grant of Er. Mildred Scheel Stiftung, (2.5Mio DM)
  • BMBF Lead Structures for Molecular medicine, Target analysis of PDZ Domains for antiviral therapies
  • Grants from Germany, Switzerland, EU, Ministry in Germany, (1 to 2 Mio CHF p.a.)

Academic Appointments

  • Head of Erwin Schrödinger Price Committee for Interdisciplinary Research of the Helmholtz Foundation, Germany
  • Member of Biotechnology Council of German Government and City of Berlin.
  • Reviewer of papers published in over fifteen journals.
  • Scientific Advisory Board of Berliner Scientific Society
  • Scientific Advisory Board of AIDS Society, Switzerland
  • Co-Editor of Intervirology Journal, Karger Press

Summary of Publications

  • 250 peer-reviewed papers: 4 x Nature (RNase H, Myc, Raf (1972, 1982, 1984, 1999)), Invited Editorials (2 x Nature), 1 x Cell (Myb (1995)), 2 x PNAS (1983, 1995), 2 x Nature Biotech (PDZ proteins (1998), HIV RNase H (2007)), 9 x EMBO J (1982, 1984, 1988, 1988, 1988, 1994, 2007), 2 x J Mol Biol (1991, 1994), 2 x Science (Akt-Raf cross-talk (both in 1999)), 4 x JBC, 5 x J Mol Med, J Gene Therapy, EMBO Rep (2006), Antivirals (10 papers 2009)
  • About 100 PhD, MD or Diploma Theses
  • 1 Book: Das AIDS Virus (1988)
  • 23 Articles for newspapers or medical journals (NZZ, Bild der Wissenschaft, Deutsches Aerzteblatt)
  • 12 book chapters
  • Editor of book “Viral DNA-Vaccines” (2002)
  • Several Patents, 2 issued


  • DVD: Sternstunde Philosophie with Dr. Bischofsberger as moderator (SF1, 30.11.2008)
  • DVD: Supermacht der Viren with Dr. Alexander Kluge as Interviewer (dctp, 2008)
  • CD: Das Leben der Viren (Supposé Co, 2009)

University of Zurich, Charité Berlin, and Free University Berlin; on all topics mentioned in research interests above.

Press Reports
in Der Spiegel 1987, 2007, NZZ, FAZ etc.

Organ playing (Church Music Examination, C-level, 1967)
Sailing (Certificate 1974)


  • Co-Founder of four Biotechnology Companies ( Germany and USA)
  • Employee (part-time) at Apollon Co (spin-off from Centocor Co, Pennsylvania),
  • Consultant for HIV program at Novartis Co.
  • Organizer /Co organizer of EMBO workshops
  • EMBO Global Exchange Lecture Course in South Africa on HIV/AIDS Jan/Feb 2011.
  • Workshop at Institute of Advanced Study, Berlin, on Evolution of Viruses and Hosts.
  • Invited Lectures: 2009/2010 in China (2x, Peking, Shanghai)), Nowosibirsk (Russia),  Busan (Korea), Dubai (UAE), Japan, USA, Europe, South Africa.

other CVs
Biosketch US
Cvand Abstract