April 2021

Professor Josef Martin Penninger from Vancouver, Canada, will present the Plenary Lecture titled ‘ACE2 – a rationale front line therapy for COVID-19’ at ECR 2021.

Professor Josef Martin Penninger is a world-renowned geneticist, the Canada 150 Research Chair in Functional Genetics. and currently the Director of the Life Sciences Institute (LSI) at the University of British Columbia.

Professor Penninger was born in Gurten, Austria, and studied medicine at the University of Innsbruck in Austria. From 1990 to 1994 he worked as a post-doctoral fellow at the Ontario Cancer Institute. He then transitioned to the Department of Immunology and Medical Biophysics at the University of Toronto where he worked until 2002. As Principal Investigator of Amgen, his independent lab contributed to the development of the antibody Denosumab for bone loss and also found the first connection for RANKL to mammary gland development in pregnancy and breast cancer.

In 2002, he moved to Vienna, Austria, to start and develop the Institute of Molecular Biotechnology of the Austrian Academy of Sciences (IMBA), which has since become one of the prime research centres in the world. He endeavours to recreate this environment at the LSI and to nurture and train the best and brightest young minds of UBC scholars.

J.M. Penninger

Professor Penninger’s significant accomplishments include pioneering insights into the molecular basis of osteoporosis and breast cancer, and demonstrating the critical role of ACE2 as the cellular receptor for the SARS Coronavirus infections and linking ACE2 to lung failure in these cases.

He has received numerous awards including the Wittgenstein Prize of the Austrian Federal Government, the Descartes Prize for Research, the Ernst Jung Prize for Medical Excellence, the Innovator Award of the US Department of Defense, and the Austrian Cross of Honor for Science and Art First Class.

He has published extensively in several multidisciplinary scientific journals, with over 60 publications in Cell, Nature, and Science.