Harald zur Hausen

Harald zur Hausen ( born March 11, 1936 in Gelsenkirchen ) is a German physician. On October 6, 2008, he received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was awarded.


Zur Hausen put the Abitur at the Gymnasium 1955 Antonianum in Vechta from. He studied medicine at the Universities of Bonn, Hamburg and Dusseldorf and received his doctorate in Dusseldorf in 1960. Subsequently, he worked for two years as a medical assistant and then three years as a research assistant at the Institute for Medical Microbiology, University of Dusseldorf. This was followed by three and a half years to the Virus Laboratories of the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. Zur Hausen also was an assistant professor at the University of Pennsylvania. In 1969 he habilitated at the Julius- Maximilians- University of Würzburg, where he worked at the Institute of Virology. He was appointed professor at the newly founded Department of Clinical Virology, University of Erlangen -Nuremberg in 1972, in 1977 he was appointed to the Chair of Virology and Hygiene at the University of Freiburg.

From 1983 to 2003, Harald zur Hausen, Chairman and Scientific Member of the Foundation Board of the German Cancer Research Center ( DKFZ) in Heidelberg. Under zur Hausen leadership expanded the Cancer Research Center, which has no clinical bed departments, significantly its cooperation with individual university hospitals: so-called Clinical Cooperation Units ensure the integration of basic research and clinical medicine to transfer research results into practice as soon as possible.

Zur Hausen until the end of 2010 was editor of the International Journal of Cancer.

Since 1993, he is married to the professor Ethel -Michele de Villiers, who also works at the German Cancer Research Center. Zur Hausen has three sons from his first marriage. Today he lives with his wife in the Hessian Wald- Michel in the Odenwald region.


Zur Hausen special field of research was the development of cancers from virus infections. As early as 1976 he published the hypothesis that human papillomavirus ( warts virus ) played a role in the development of cervical cancer ( cervical cancer ). Soon was experimentally substantiated scientific certainty from the suspect. In the early 1980s he was with his group for the first time the types HPV 16 and 18 of human papillomavirus isolate from diseased tissue from cervical cancer. The discovery of the release of the third most common cancer among women has opened up completely new perspectives in the prevention and treatment and ultimately led to the development of HPV vaccines that have been available since 2006.

Honors and Awards

2008 was awarded to Harald zur Hausen, along with the Frenchman Luc Montagnier and Françoise Barré -Sinoussi of the French Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.

For his performance Harald zur Hausen has also received numerous other awards, including the Robert Koch Prize (1975 ), the Charles S. Mott Prize of the General Motors Cancer Research Foundation (1986 ), the German Cancer Award ( 1986), the Paul Ehrlich and Ludwig Darmstaedter Prize (1994 ), the Emil von Behring Prize (1994 ), the Ernst Jung Prize and Jacob Henle medal ( 1996), the Charles Rodolphe Brupbacher prize for Cancer Research (1999), the William B. Coley Award ( 2006), Raymond Bourgine Award ( 2006), the German cancer Aid Award (2007 ), the Johann -Georg -Zimmermann medal ( 2007), the Gairdner Foundation International Award ( 2008), the "Award for Lifetime Achievement in Cancer Research " of the American Association for Cancer Research (2008), the Tsungming -Tu Award ( 2011) and Ernst Wertheim Price ( 2012).

Furthermore him Helsinki ( Finland), Erlangen -Nuremberg, Würzburg and Jerusalem became the honorary doctorate from the University Chicago ( USA), Umeå (Sweden), Prague ( Czech Republic), Salford (England), awarded. He is among other organizations, member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, neat since 1986 Member of the Heidelberg Academy of Sciences and Vice President of the Academy of Natural Scientists Leopoldina. In April 2004 him the Federal Cross of Merit was awarded. 2006 Harald zur Hausen was awarded the Medal of Merit of the State of Baden -Wuerttemberg. On 4 November 2008 he was elected an honorary citizen of the community appointed forest -Michel Bach, where he lives. At the same time it also the title of Ambassador of the mountain road was awarded.

On 6 April 2009 was awarded at Bellevue Palace with the Great Federal Cross of Merit with Star of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany zur Hausen of the German President Horst Köhler.

From 1 January to 1 July 2010, Harald zur Hausen was a successor of Dagmar Schipanski as honorary president of the German Cancer Aid.

Works (selection)

  • Against Cancer - the story of a provocative idea. Rowohlt 2010. ISBN 978-3-498-03001-8
  • What to do about cancer? Audio CD, 76 minutes. Written and directed by Klaus Sander. Narrator: Harald zur Hausen. Berlin: 2008 ISBN 978-3-932513-84-8 supposé.
  • Infections Causing Human Cancer. Weinheim: Wiley- VCH 2006 ISBN 978-3-527-31056-2.
  • Genome and faith. The invisible cage. Berlin: Springer, 2001.
  • Papillomaviruses and carcinogenic, Obstetrics and Gynecology 58 (1998) 291-296, available online at

Literature on Harald zur Hausen

  • . C. Eberhard -Metzger and S. Seltmann: Harald zur Hausen - Nobel Prize for Medicine 2008 (PDF, 10.9 MB) German Cancer Research Center (Editor)