The Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research (HZI) is organised in the form of a GmbH (equals “Ltd.”). Shareholders are the Federal Republic of Germany (90 percent) and the federal states Lower-Saxony (eight percent), Saarland (one percent) and Free State of Bavaria (one percent).

The shareholders' meeting, as the supreme management body of the HZI, meets at least once a year, takes the most important directional decisions, appoints the two managing directors and decides on their discharge. Representatives of the shareholders - together with experts from universities, clinics, industry, other research centres and the HZI itself - form the supervisory board. The HZI Supervisory Board meets twice a year, supervises the legality, expediency and economic efficiency of the management and decides on important research policy and financial matters of the company. The Scientific Committee provides the Supervisory Board with expert advice. The Centre's middle management consists of the heads of the scientific departments, the administrative units and the staff units.

Scientific Director

Dirk Heinz studied Chemistry and Biochemistry in Freiburg before he turned towards Structural Biology during his PhD work at the University of Basel. Following a postdoc period in the US, he returned to Freiburg for his habilitation. In 1998 he became a junior research group leader at the then German Research Centre of Biotechnology (GBF, now HZI) in Braunschweig, where he has headed the Department of Molecular Structural Biology between 2002 and 2013.

Dirk Heinz is Professor at the Technical University of Braunschweig and has promoted the field of structural biology for more than a decade as member of several national and international committees. Since 2009 he is a member of the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO).

After a one-year period as Acting Scientific Director, Dirk Heinz was appointed as Scientific Director of the HZI on 1 August 2011. For the period of 2019-2020 he has been elected as Vice President of the Helmholtz Association for the Research Field Health.

Administrative Director

Raised in Nienburg/Weser, Silke Tannapfel studied law at the University of Göttingen and Science Management at the German University of Administrative Sciences Speyer.

Then she was head of the division of legal affairs and head of the Chancellor's office of the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg and division head of the Bavarian State Chancellery for the Science and Arts at the Bavarian delegation to the European Union in Brussels. Later, she was appointed personal consultant of the State Minister of the Ministry for Science, Research and the Arts in conjunction with being the head of the division for science politics and cross-state bodies.

She has been the head of the division for extramural research support and cross-state bodies in the Bavarian State Ministry for Economy and Media, Energy and Technology based in Munich since 2013.

Since 1 October 2017 Silke Tannapfel is the Administrative Director of the HZI.

Contact Partner

Prof Dr Dirk Heinz

Scientific Director

Curriculum Vitae

Publications of Prof. Dr. Dirk Heinz



Date of Birth: August 01, 1960
Marital Status: Married, two children  


Education and Employment:

* Since Aug. 2011
Scientific Director, HZI Braunschweig
* Nov. 2010 – July 2011
Acting Scientific Director, HZI Braunschweig
* Jan. 2010 – Oct. 2011
Speaker of the Helmholtz Programme “Infection and Immunity”
* March 2005
Appointment as Honorary Professor at the Technical University of Braunschweig
* July 2003
Appointment as Extraordinary Professor at the Technical University Braunschweig
* Since May 2002
Head of Department/Division of Structural Biology, German Research Center for Biotechnology (GBF), Braunschweig, Germany
* Dec. 1998
Habilitation in Biochemistry (University of Freiburg, Germany)
* July 1998 – Apr. 2002
Junior research group leader in the Department of Structural Biology, German Research Center for Biotechnology (GBF), Braunschweig, Germany
* Oct. 1993 – June 1998
Research Assistant, University of Freiburg, Germany* July 1990 – Sept. 1993
Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Oregon, Eugene, U.S.A.
* Apr. 1990
PhD in Biochemistry, University of Basel, Switzerland
* 1980 – June 1986

Diploma Studies in Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of  Freiburg, Germany


Further scientific activities:

* Since Oct. 2011
Member Scientific Advisory-Board Institute of Medical Microbiology and Hygiene, University of Tübingen
* Since November 2010

Chairman of the board of TWINCORE
* Since April 2010
Member of the Helmholtz Think Tank panel
* 2009 – 2010
Coordinator of the topic “Strukturbiologie” within the “Strukturanalyse der Forschung in Norddeutschland” der Wissenschaftlichen Kommission Niedersachsen (WKN)
* Since 2008
Speaker of the CSSB initiative at DESY Hamburg
* Since 2007
Member of the Editorial Board of Biological Chemistry
* Since 2005
Founder and spreaker of GBM-Study Group "Structural Biology" and principal organizer of the international "Murnau Conference in Structural Biology" (2005, 2007, 2010, 2012)
* Since 2005
Member of the Editorial Board of Protein Science
* Since 2003
Official representative and speaker of Helmholtz Structural Biology
* 2002 – 2006
Speaker of the DGK Study Group "Biological Structures"
* 2002 – 2008
Member of DECHEMA e.V.
* Since  2001
Member of the German Crystallographic Society (DGK)
* Since 1999
Member of the German Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (GBM)


Further Activities:

* November 2008
Certificate “Leadership – St. Galler Führungsprogramm”, St. Galler Business School, St Gallen, Switzerland


* since Dec 2009
Elected Corresponding Member of the Akademie der Wissenschaften in Hamburg

* since Oct 2008
Elected Member of the European Molecular Biology Organisation (EMBO)


PrintSend per emailShare