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.
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.
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.