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History of the Department of Biochemistry

The Department of Biochemistry of the University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover was founded in 1965. The first Chair of the Department was Prof. Niesar. The laboratories and offices of the Department were initially accommodated within the building of the Department of Physiology at the Campus of the University at Bischofsholer Damm. Prof. Jürgen Schole succeeded Prof. Niesar in 1969 as a Chair and Director.


In 1977 the Department of Biochemistry moved to its new laboratories and offices on two floors in the building 218 of the newly inaugurated Campus of the University of Veterinary Medicine at Bünteweg in Kirchrode, a suburb of Hannover. The Department’s staff comprised three professors, 5 academic assistant and 7 technical assistants in addition to several doctoral students. Besides teaching Biochemistry to students of Veterinary Medicine the Department’s major research interests at that time have focused primarily on metabolic pathways of carbohydrates and lipids in animals. After the retirement of Prof. Schole (Prof. em.), the Department was headed ad interim by Prof. Hans-Peter Sallmann from 1992 until 1997.


In 1997 Prof. Dr. Hassan Y. Naim, a biochemist and cell biologist accepted the offer of the University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover to the Chair of the Department. With his move the research interests at the Department expanded to center on understanding the molecular basis of protein and membrane trafficking in health and disease, with particular emphasis on gastrointestinal diseases, lysosomal storage diseases and prostate cancer. Also the teaching obligations increased to encompass the entire curriculum of compulsory and elective courses in Biochemistry for students of Veterinary Medicine as well as teaching and training activities in cellular and molecular biology as well as pathobiochemistry for students of Biology and Biochemistry.


In 2004 Prof. Sallmann retired and Prof. Bernd Otto, a biotechnologist from the Fraunhofer Institute, joined the Department as an associated member. Prof. Otto was the Chair of Biotechnology and Molecular Biology that has been established by the State of Lower Saxony. He participated in the teaching and research activities of the Department of Biochemistry until his retirement in 2010.


In 2010 Dr. Maren von Köckritz-Blickwede, who had gained several years of expertise in infection diseases at the University of California San Diego and the Helmholtz Center for Infections in Braunschweig, joined the Department. Together with Prof. Naim, Dr. von Köckritz-Blickwede initiated projects that focus on understanding the biochemical basis of infections and immune defense with special focus on phagocyte extracellular traps. These projects are referred to as Biochemistry of Infection within the Chair of Biochemistry. In February 2015 Dr. von Köckritz-Blickwede has accepted the offer of the University to be appointed as W2-Professor and leader of the newly established group of Infection Biochemistry.


The current Department’s staff comprises 2 professors, a secretarial assistant, 8 postdoctoral assistants, 11 doctoral students, 5 technical assistants, 2 animal caretakers and several Master and Bachelor students.

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