Hans Lehrach studied Chemistry at the University of Vienna and obtained his Ph.D. at the Max Planck Institute for Experimental Medicine and the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in 1974. As postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University, Cambridge (1974-1978) his research focused on RNA analysis and he carried out one of the first cDNA cloning experiments. As group leader at the EMBL, Heidelberg (1978-1987), he was among the first who initiated positional cloning experiments in mouse (Brachyury) and man (Huntington’s disease, Cystic Fibrosis etc), he also contributed to the development of widely used research tools (e.g. the EMBL vector system together with Noreen Murray) and was one of the first who initiated the human genome project. Following this, he moved to the Imperial Cancer Research Fund, London (1987-1994) as head of Genome Analysis Department, focusing on the development of new structural and functional genome analysis technologies (e.g. development of the first array robotics in 1987). In 1994, he returned to Germany and since then he has been Director and Scientific Member at the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics, with a focus on genetics, genomics and systems biology.
His scientific achievements are numerous, among those are the early contribution to the cloning of collagen cDNA, early positional cloning work (Chorea Huntington gene etc.), key work on technologies such as protein microarrays, protein interactome analysis, yeast artificial chromosomes and RNAseq, as well as the involvement in several genome sequencing projects, such as the human, rat, and Schizosaccharomyces Pombe. During the last decade, a major focus of his work has been the development of a new, truly personalised medicine on the basis of ‘virtual patient’ models, based on a deep –omics analysis of the patient. He has received several awards such as the Ján Jessenius SAS Medal of Honour for outstanding achievements in medical sciences of the Slovak Academy of Sciences (2003) and the Karl Heinz Beckurts Award for achievements in genome research (2004).
Hans Lehrach has co-founded several biotechnology companies such as Sequana Therapeutics, GPC Biotech, Scienion, Prot@gen, PSF Biotech, Atlas Biolabs, Alacris Theranostics, as well as the Dahlem Centre for Genome Research and Medical Systems Biology gGmbH (DCGMS).