Juergen Knoblich is the vice director of IMBA, the Institute of Molecular Biotechnology in Vienna, Austria. He obtained his PhD from the Max Planck Institute in Tübingen. After a postdoctoral period in the laboratory of Yuh Nung Jan at UCSF, San Francisco, he joined the Institute of Molecular Pathology (Vienna) as a group leader in 1997. In 2004, he moved to the newly founded IMBA where he became deputy director in 2005. Juergen Knoblich is a member of the Austrian Academy of Sciences and the Academia Europea and has been awarded two advanced grants of the European Research Council. He has received the Wittgenstein prize, the Schroedinger award of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, the Sir Hans Krebs Medal of the Federation of European Biochemical Societies, the EMBO young investigator award, the FEBS anniversary award and the ELSO early career award.
Juergen Knoblich’s research group is interested in the mechanisms of brain development and neural stem cell control. In the fruitfly Drosophila, they have identified a mechanism that regulates brain stem cell lineages by segregating proteins asymmetrically in dividing precursors. In 2013, they developed an in vitro culture system called Cerebral Organoids that recapitulates the development of a human brain at remarkable level of details. They have successfully modelled patient-specific disease phenotypes and used them to describe disease mechanisms. Using bio-engineered scaffolds and heterologous organoid fusion cultures, they developed organoid based in vitro systems for the cell biological events crucial for human brain development that can be used to describe defects in neuro-psychiatric diseases.